Andreas Seltzer – Western Lines. Eine Geschichte des Stacheldrahts
Thorny obstacles can turn into an existential threat for everyone, cowboys and sons of kings alike. This transpires in Andreas Seltzer's „Western Lines. Eine Geschichte des Stacheldrahts“ ["Western Lines. A History of the Barbed Wire"] – a picture book employing the style of a children’s primer to create an evocative artistic web: a kind of cartography comprising cultural-historical material, personal fascinations, playful elements of nostalgia, and pictures of stark reality.
The images presented cover a wide range of aspects, from romanticization (Western movie posters) to sheer horror (grim photographs of war scenes).
"Over a thousand different types of barbed wire were used in the American West," Andreas Seltzer informs us in "Western Lines." The barbed-wire lines imposed on the vast land are the product of minds shaped by European traditions of private property, i.e. come from a different "West," as it were, soon to cross America and turn its Wild West into parcels.
However, not only dividing lines (such as the pasture fences that spread with the settlers towards the Pacific and limit the freedom of movement of cowboys and, more dramatically, Native Americans) but also barbed-wire entanglements (as a recurring feature of temporary barriers in cities all over the world) and entire fields of barbed wire (those of the Siegfried Line, or Westwall, in the Second World War) play a role in "Western Lines." In war photography, Andreas Seltzer notes, barbed wire quickly becomes a new "rhythm provider in the pictorial space."
Andreas Seltzer draws, collects, and writes, acting as artist, curator, archivist, and author. In the '70s, together with Dieter Hacker, he edited the magazine "Volksfoto. Zeitung für Fotografie," whose "unspoken statement" Christoph Bannat once put as follows: "everything is already in the world, it just has to be uncovered, properly arranged and connected to words, and made to resonate." Over the years, Andreas Seltzer's private archive has grown steadily: an idiosyncratic repository of images from all kinds of sources, a pool he draws upon in his art, his collages, exhibitions, and publications.
16.5 x 24
Softcover, staple binding