Daniel Schwartz - Travelling through the Eye of History
Views from the Hinterland of War
The exhibition "Travelling through the Eye of History" at the Helmhaus Zürich is breathtakingly topical. For it takes us to Central Asia, to the "global heartland". This region is constantly in the news as the scene of both interminable warfare and latent conflict. Yet this has not made it any more familiar to us. In this exhibition, and in his two books Travelling through the Eye of History and Schnee in Samarkand. Ein Reisebericht aus dreitausend Jahren [Snow in Samarqand. A Travelogue of Three Thousand Years], internationally acclaimed Swiss photographer and author Daniel Schwartz sets out to understand this geographically heterogeneous and politically complex entity both from the inside and from the European, Chinese and Persian-Arab perspectives.
The photographs taken for this project in the five Central Asian republics (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), Afghanistan and its borderlands between 1995 and 2007 are just as much the result of Schwartz's nuanced approach to this cultural and historical palimpsest as are his textworks.
In his 'images of history', Schwartz articulates the precariousness and unremitting existential uncertainty of human existence, and seeks to explain the deep-seated asymmetries and long-nurtured misconceptions in the hinterland of war which because of the post-9/11 political developments have become steadily more pronounced ever since.