The election campaigns for the German Bundestag are an ideal occasion to explore strategies of production and self-production across all political parties. It is a work about the endeavour of shading light on the precisely calculated gestures of the actors of these public orchestration, their success in radiate aspects of power and its fascination.
It is a view behind the scenes withoutstepping into them. These photographs expose politics as theatre and a root of acquisition of power in our contemporary democratic society.
These photographs are about the German chancellors Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, Helmut Kohl, Gerhard Schroeder, Angela Merkel and their challengers.
Wahl Kampf Ritual was photographed during the German election campaigns in the years 1984-87, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2013. The photographs are compiled in the monograph Wahl KampfRitual, published by Edition Panorama, Mannheim, Germany, 2013. Included 113 photographs in duotone, 10 illustrations, 192 pages, with a text by Christoph
For years I have been dealing with power and rituals of public events. I started my research about behavioural attitudes in different contexts of society with a documentation of catholic ceremonies in cologne (compiled in the book Das Kölner Heil). Following topics were the politicians´ strategies of a medium-effective self-production during the German democratic election campaigns (compiled in the book Wahl Kampf Ritual) and the world economic summit. Further on I examined the defining rituals in the world of pimps, prostitutes and nightlife as well as the production of television sceneries bringing up the question: Is our world a telly? These series are combined together to POWER AND RITUAL.
About Bernd Arnold
I am working as an artist and as a freelance photographer for German and international print media. My dominant theme in arts is „Power and Ritual“ which he seizes for example in politics, the catholic church and in television studios. The cycle deals with the staging of leadership, control and religion as it is practised in modern society. Another focus of my interest lies on portrait photography.
I was born in Cologne/Germany. During my studies of Photography and Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Dortmund I already got the opportunity to work for the daily newspaper Kölner Stadtanzeiger and the magazines Stern and ZEITmagazin. 1990 I finished my studies with the foto essay “Eine Nacht im Milieu”. Bernd Arnold lives and works in Cologne, Germany. [Official website] [Book]