Arwed Messmer: RAF. No Evidence / Kein Beweis
Numerous accounts of the ’70s militant leftist Red Army Faction, or the Baader-Meinhof group, have been published over the past 40 years. Here, Arwed Messmer (born 1964) takes images made by police photographers at the time–pictures of demonstrators, crime-scene photographs and mug shots–to create a narrative arc from the beginnings of the movement in the early ’70s to the eruptions of violence in 1977 (the infamous “German Autumn”), the abduction and murder of Hanns-Martin Schleyer and the suicides of Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe in Stammheim Prison. Messmer’s work therefore also has an ethical dimension: which photographs should be shown, how might they be shown and why do we want to see them? This investigation touches a key point for contemporary debates about historical documents with an aesthetic dimension offering potential for an empathetic examination of history.