Daniel & Geo Fuchs
Stasi secret rooms

16. August 2014 to 5. October 2014

This year, it has been a quarter of a century since the Berlin Wall came down, and the Cold War came to an end. To mark this occasion, Nikolaj Kunsthal presents the photo exhibition Stasi Secret Rooms by Daniel & Geo Fuchs.

Stasi Secret Rooms explores a world that only few East German citizens wanted to get in close contact with. But at least third of them nevertheless did. Stasi, or as it was officially known, the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS), in its heyday numbered some 100,000 full-time employees and probably more than 200,000 informants. It is estimated that together they gathered information on at least every third East German citizen. The objective was to defend socialism East German style.

This required an endless number of interrogation rooms, office facilities, and not least 180,000 running metres for the information collected and stored on East German countrymen and enemies, often on secret addresses far way from the public eye.

When the Wall came down in 1989 so did Stasi, and its buildings and information material were confiscated in 1990. Some of the old rooms have been given new functions, some have been left standing as monuments to a time, and yet others have been left in virtual time capsules for 25 years.

This is the universe that Daniel & Geo Fuchs have been exploring for several years with Stasi Secret Rooms, now to be experienced at Nikolaj Kunsthal.   



Daniel Fuchs (b. 1966) and Geo Fuchs (b. 1969) were both born and raised in West Germany. Since 1995, they have worked together on several conceptual projects of which the most notable – besides Stasi Secret Rooms (2004) – include the photo series ToyGiants (2006) on Selim Varol’s huge collection of toys and Famous Eyes (2002), a documentation of contemporary celebrities posing with close-ups of their own eyes.

The artists’ works have been shown worldwide at a number of solo and group presentations as well as art fairs, among these Kunsthalle Wien; Museum Villa Stuck Munich; Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt; Norton Museum of Art Palm Beach; Andy Warhol Museum Pittsburgh; CAC Malaga; Kunsthal Rotterdam; Biennale of contemporary Art Thessaloniki.

Learn more on: www.daniel-geo-fuchs.com




From the press



In a more constructive manner, you can see the series (of photos) as a comment on surveillance and repression in a more general sense in which East Germany is one historical example of a state's kidnapping of its own citizens. In East Germany it the was admittedly extreme, but hardly unique in any way, and it is easy to imagine this repeated in new and even more degenerated versions. Fuchs' exhibition can be seen as a timely reminder of the seriousness of that threat.

Read the whole review (in Danish) 



Interview with Daniel and Geo Fuchs by Synne Rifbjerg: Det store øre (The Great Ear), week 34



The radio programme AFLYTTET (Tapped) went to visit the exhibition together with curator Andreas Brøgger. Skip to 27:40 min. The tour in the lasts ca. 20 min.

Listen to Aflyttet (in Danish) 






"The empty rooms still menace, but they draw the eye as well. With some of the photos, it’s even possible to squint and see an uncanny version of a 1960s modernist furniture catalog. Only the walls are cramped, the carpets worn, and the lights a little too harsh."

Read the full story



"Creemos que es importante mostrar esto al mundo, es probablemente el único servicio secreto que usted puede examinar, aunque la RDA ya no existe más."

Read the full story (i Spanish)



"The sterility of the photos, especially the images of prisoner bedrooms, hints at the degree to which the Stasi kept a tight lid on dissenters. In prison culture (or at least prison culture as it’s portrayed in the movies), there’s a lot of graffiti: on the walls, in library books, between cells. “We were searching for any scratching or anything in the cells—usually you would think they were sending messages—but it was very clear you couldn’t see anything,” Geo Fuchs says."

Read more


Interview with Daniel & Geo Fuchs (in German). Credit: Fotografins House, Stockholm.