Has anyone ever stopped to think what a nomadic landscape can be like? From the outset, it seems that the ideas of their own landscape and nomadic life would be at odds. Taking into account that one of the main characteristics of nomadic life is its mobility, it seems that there would not be a specific landscape, but rather, on the contrary, it would necessarily be a changing landscape. However, there is something in Ulrike von Gültlingen’s photographs that makes us think of the idea that we are before the image of what could be a landscape of nomadic life. We had that impression when looking at the series of photographs “Glaswaldsee” that were shown at La Posta Foundation in the collective exhibition “Inflexive Speeches”, organized by Red Nómade and Yvonne Andreini [see here ]
In the series “Hohrodberg”, 2021, constructions appear that could serve as a room. Originally built for war, they may later have served as a shelter for shepherds, refugees, hikers, etc. Nomadic life needs habitats here and there, in which to rest on the road. Thus, in nomadic life there is landscape and there are dwellings. One could even speak of a geography of nomadic life. It has been done by the researcher Michael Frachetti, from the University of Washington. He argues that nomadic life shaped the geography of the Silk Road in the Central Asian highlands. There, the typical shelter for the caravans that take the cattle looking for the best pastures is the Caravasar. La Posta is a Caravanserai. A place to arrive, rest, think, and follow the path. You can also find it in Alsace, in Hohrodberg. The nomads are among us, even if we do not see them.
Ulrike von Gültlingen (Bielefeld, 1966; lives and works in Berlin)
She has developed her artistic career in the field of photography, drawing and stage design. In 2004 she founded the Freiraum School of Arts in Berlin, of which she is the director. Within Freirarum [outdoor space] she created Freirarum-kinder e.V., a non-profit association, with the aim of giving children free access to art and culture and promoting their creative thinking and potential.
About the series of photographs “Hohrodberg”, made in Alsace, the artist has commented: “I love wandering, discovering places that are more than themselves, the apparently random things that follow a secret principle of human legacies, telling us stories or asking us riddles”. Because, effectively, the places portrayed hide a secret.
This method of work practiced by Ulrike von Gültlingen makes her akin to the artists of the Spurensicherung Kunst, an artistic movement little known outside Germany, despite occupying a specific section in Art of the 20th century, Taschen, 1998.