The colour photos focus on the documentation of the removal of - in some instances - extensive tattoos depicting right-wing symbols and signs. I capture the process as the physical inscriptions disappear, which up to this point, have for years been an expression of one’s identity and political ideology. To remove symbols so fused into the body is a highly deliberate step for an ex-Neo-Nazi, because the elimination of these distinctive marks is an expensive, lengthy and painful process. The process of individuals breaking-away from the right-extremism scene is captured in photographic portraits that trace the renunciation of an ideologically charged environment, both individual and communitarian, via the removal of white supremacist tattoos.
B/W photography shows historical Nazi symbols being integrated in architectures and therefore having a presence in the public space. Despite the so-called denazification, overpaintings or other interventions they are still visible and therefore part of the everyday in cities and on the countryside.
The photos of these architectures and their peculiar historical inscriptions are conceived as diptychs. One shot always shows close ups on the symbols that are three dimensional parts of buildings, incorporated in wall paintings and facades. A second photo presents some sort of establishing shot that allows to understand the contexts (and the strange normality of the existence of these Nazi symbols in the public roam).
The portraits of former Neo-Nazis will be a means to visualize how the break from the scene has been performed and completed in a visible way. Tattoo removal expresses a person’s determination and sincerity to quit the scene: The removal of symbols is a symbol in itself.
The b/w photos examine the condition of the Nazi symbols in public spaces. The motives are spread in Germany and Austria. The parallel to the tattoos is that often the symbols are the same no matter if they are inscribed in architectures or human bodies: swastikas, particular runes and portraits of soldiers. In both cases symbols are being removed or reworked, but sometimes they remain in their original forms (and the unconscious public respectively the individual memory).
The so-called denazification of public space in Germany is bound on a complex history since after WWII it was mainly initiated by the Allied France, GB, USA, and USSR, and handled in often very different, almost individual ways. No specific procedures, strategic or ideological policies can be identified with the different Allied.