In May and June of 2009, the photographer Matthias Koch (Düsseldorf, Bremen) was in Australia as a guest of Goethe-Institut Australia and the Sydney College of the Arts. For some considerable time Koch has concentrated on shooting locations of historical and political significance. A selection of his work appeared in the extensive exhibition Darstellung-Vorstellung, shown in Sydney and Melbourne.
Matthias Koch’s images often go to the heart of the story behind the visible surface. View his image of the Glienicker Bridge in Berlin, on which spies were exchanged during the Cold War, and you see more than architecture and landscape, you find a symbol of division and reclaimed unity.
It stood to reason that Goethe-Institut Australia entrust Matthias Koch with the continuation of the project Far Away So Close. In 2006 and 2007 the photographers Che Chapman (Berlin and Brisbane) and Claudia Terstappen (Melbourne) were on the trail of German-Australian biographies and portraits. Their journeys evolved into an exhibition in two sections, each with 25 unusual photo and textual narratives. Their work reflected the motives for resettling in another country, and displayed the extraordinary variety of lifestyle and forms of expression that people sought and found in the new country of their choice.
Matthias Koch’s portrayal of visible traces of German history and contemporary life in Australia continues the thread of Far Away So Close. Australia, with its wide open spaces, has exerted a pull of fascination on Germans for over 200 years; German migrants, families and firms have all left their traces on both the landscape and public life of Australia, and continue to have a not insignificant effect to this day. From the hundreds of images Koch made during his time in Australia, we chose just 25 for this exhibition, and in these you can sense the depth and diversity inherent in the German-Australian relationship.
They are complimented through our look back into the Australian past, skillfully interpreted by Robin Wallace-Crabbe: Germans have helped shaping Australia in more ways than you think.
Be part of this personal journey through two wonderful countries: We provide the framework – and you can provide us with you own personal German-Australian story!
We would like to thank our partners for their contribution: