In her work Postcards from Europe Eva Leitolf examines the ways Europe, and specifically, the European Union, deals with its external borders and the associated internal conflicts, by bringing together images of places with carefully researched texts about past migration-related events at those places. Since 2006 the artist has undertaken long field trips to the most affected border regions in Spain and the Spanish exclaves of Melilla and Ceuta in Morocco, Hungary, southern Italy, and Greece, as well as to the English Channel ports of Calais and Dover. The project is not limited to the borders themselves: she is currently working on sites in Germany and Austria.
Artist(s) Eva Leitolf
Postcards from Europe focuses not on the suffering of those involved, which has already been widely documented, but on the ways, the European Community relates to that suffering, administers undocumented migrants, and works to tighten control of its external borders. The text postcards that accompany each image draw on many different sources. Media reports, police files and press releases usually constitute the starting point for Eva Leitolf’s research and shape her fieldwork itineraries. While travelling she keeps a journal, and on-site she speaks with people connected to the events: migrants, refugees, seasonal workers, activists, trade unionists, local politicians, border guards. Later, these collected voices and sources come together to form the basis of the postcard texts.
For exhibition purposes, the archival pigment prints are mounted on boards and placed on a long shelving ledge. The texts are printed on postcards placed in stacks beside the images. Viewers are implicitly permitted to pick up the postcards. As well as addressing the phenomenon of migration, the interplay of image and text in Postcards from Europe explores aspects of perception, representation and of the processes of formation of meaning.
The project is conceived as an ongoing, open-ended archive. Postcards from Europe 03/13 published by Kehrer is the first of a planned series of publications from the artist’s continuously growing archive.
20 archive plates in a slipcase, 29,7 x 40 cm
Kehrer Verlag, 2013
A publication as an exhibition – as seen for instance during the exhibition “Whose land have I lit on now? Contemplations on the notion of hostipitality” 2018 at Savvy Contemporary in Berlin.