neon sign, barbed wire fence, concrete bases
The term »Jammerthal« (valley of tears) appears in countless German texts – most of all during the period of Baroque – and formulates a juxtaposition of earthly life as a condition of misery, darkness and suffering to the heavenly promises of salvation. The baroque dichotomy between this world’s sorrows and the hopes of redemption directed towards the hereafter has again gained great relevance in today’s world. Various paradises are desired as a reward granted by a god or are constructed on islands of western wealth, situated beyond the seas and protected by hermetic borders. Not infrequently barbed wire fences separate the paradises from the valleys of tears: the countries of freedom and wealth beyond national borders, the promise of happiness and a normal life outside the camps, enclaves of luxury amidst slums. Those fences seem to be the material and ideological lines of demarcation grinding and wounding movements on an enormous scale. Is paradise the expected salvation at the end of suffering? Or does it call for the erection of valleys of tears, which it nourishes from and compared to the background of which it presents itself as a promise?