Ulrich Gebert
Amerika. 2010

Curated by Valeria Schwarz within Parallel Events Manifesta 8
Laboratorio de Arte Joven, Murcia

For a long time, America has represented in the collective imagination – as depicted by Franz Kafka in his posthumous novel, Amerika – change, the promise of freedom and happiness, the spiritual banishment of a person in his search for truth, and a truth that becomes entangled with monetary value and power structures.
Under the title Amerika, Laboratorio de Arte Joven de Murcia proudly presents the photographic work of Ulrich Gebert within the frame of parallel Manifesta 8 Events. Amerika was produced in 2007 in Valencia under the International Photography Research Network EU Culture 2000 program.
Divided into three parts, the project depicts the work system of African immigrant day laborers who harvest oranges in Valencia. While there is no spectacle, direct violence or humiliation in Gebert ’s images, like an iceberg, the unseen is what is really troubling in the pictures; those things that the viewer implicitly knows. The size of the pictures, however, obliges the visitor to get closer, to take sides. One’s gaze must reach towards the person in the image and identify him from the mass. The viewer then has to determine to what degree this exploitation is legitimate in order to maintain a system. The subjects of the pictures are at the complex crossroad between basic personal needs and market demands, between survival and abuse. In light of all of this maybe what perturbs us in Amerika is the lack of solutions.

Installation views by Ulrich Gebert.