Anne Heinlein and Göran Gnaudschun
2014 – 2016


The German word Wüstung refers to an area of human settlement or activity which, at some point in the past, has become abandoned.


The settlements on the eastern side of the former inner German border were razed to the ground because they stood in the way of an unobstructed line of fire, because they would have proved extremely costly to keep under surveillance, or simply because they were too close to the border.


The population was deported. Often they had only some hours, leave their homes with an uncertain destination.


“Wüstungen” is a collaboration of Anne Heinlein and Göran Gnaudschun. Heinlein took large-format photographs of landscapes, Gnaudschun wrote texts about the abandoned places. Together they researched these mostly hard to find places. They had long conversations with the former inhabitants. In their private albums, they found a lot of (now) symbolic photographs about the normal life before. Documents and photographic material from the archives of the Stasi (the secret service of the GDR), the military and the federal border guard shows the other, the adminitrative side.


“Wüstungen” creates a many-layered picture about an unkown part of European history.