Der grosse Schatten

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Der Große Schatten (The big shadow)
Photo-installation, 2010
The life of my grandfather, the screenwriter and playwright Harald Bratt
(1897-1967), has always been enigmatic to me. The little I knew about him
came from his war diaries, which I occasionally glimpsed in my father’s office
at my parental home in France. Their position on a high shelf marked them
out them as holders of secrets…
Der Große Schatten narrates the process of
appropriating and questioning a hidden family past. The images are
assembled in the form of a photo-installation which features a journey through
Brattʼs writings and cinematic work, as well as to places connected to his
character in both a real and imaginary way: a journey steeped in the dramatic
context of WW2 in Germany and Austria. In 1931 Bratt lost his position as
director of an Education Institute in Braunschweig, due to his progressive
ideas. However, he was later sentenced to 4 months in prison for co-authoring
propaganda scripts during National Socialism.
Der Große Schatten metaphorically addresses what in French is
termed ʻʼnon-ditʼʼ – meaning literally the non-said: aspects that have remained
unspoken of, hidden since, as noticed by Marianne Hirsch, they “do not slot
neatly into the flow of family narrative.” The images invite the viewer into the
search for clues of the past through visual and textual fragments, as a means
of questioning the origin and meaning of family secrets.