Delphine Bedel
Black and white photography

On the Baltic island of Rügen, the Nazi holiday resort of Pro- ra was the first monumental building for mass tourism. Spreading over 5 kilometres, this building was a significant propaganda instrument of Kraft durch Freude, the organization that ruled all leisure and recreation under the Third Reich. After World War II, the site was turned into a secret military base and erased from maps for 40 years. Most of the complex is now abandoned, and the building’s future destination remains uncertain. By implementing consumerism and mass tourism in the daily life of Germany, was Kraft durch Freude a prototype of contemporary tourism? The chalk cliffs on Rügen — as painted by Friedrich in 1818 — have now fallen into the sea, but the former outlook en- dures as a popular tourist destination. The painting, as a cultural artefact, has established a popular imagery of romantic nature throughout the 20th century, but the interpretation remained controversial due to political prejudice. Friedrich’s legacy is now being reconsidered. What is the Romantic imagination of nature in relation to tourism today?

About the artist

Born in France, Delphine Bedel, lives and works in Amsterdam. She is the founder of Meta/Books and the Amsterdam Art/Book Fair, as well as Member of the Advisory Board of the Mondriaan Fonds and the German Photography Academy (DFA). Meta/Books, her publishing studio and research platform, is an experimental frame- work to publish art, theory and design and promote a new generation of artists and designers. She (co)curated the path-breaking trilogy on post-colonialism. ‘Shared History /Decolonising the Image’ at W139 and Arti & Amicitiae, Amsterdam, ‘Beyond Paradise’ at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam and ‘The Experience of Atopia’ for Breda Photo festival.

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Courtesy: The artist