‘Red Land – Blue Land’ are the terms used in military lingo, when a site is being divided into the territories of friend and foe, as is the case, for instance, at the military training ground Senne at the western border of the Teutoburger Wald mountains – a site which the documentary photographer Claudio Hils explored with his camera over the course of several years. At first, the impression of nature unspoilt prevails, and the signs and traces of military use are slow to reveal themselves. Once sensitized, however, the eye discovers more and more details – cartridge cases, overgrown graves, outlines of ruined houses -, and the deeper the viewer enters into Claudio Hils’ imagery, the more surreal it becomes: Human props, placed into provisional cardboard-and-wood backdrops designed to represent streets, realistic trenches, and tanks shot to pieces finally confirm that we are in the middle of a war scenario. With all color illustrations, this publication offers multiple insights into Claudio Hils’ new photographic project, and at the same time an overview over his photographic oeuvre in the past four years.
Claudio Hils, born 1962 at Mengen. From 1985-1993 studies of communication design at the Gesamthochschule Essen. Since 1998, lecturer at the Freie Schule f³r Gestaltung at Ravensburg. Numerous exhibitions and participation in exhibitions. Photographic author and publisher of a number of artist’s books, among them Neuland (1999) and Von Königskindern und anderen (1997). Lives and works as a journalist, photographer and designer in Essen.