Traumatische Tropen (Traumatic Tropics), 2004/2012
Collage, knife cut, 2-part series, 65.4 x 52 cm each
© (Marcel Odenbach) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2010
Photo: Vesko Gösel
The two-part work relies on the complementary contrast between green and red to illustrate the elements of a stereotypical vision of the tropical idyll. On the macro level, we see palm trees, which, with their characteristically shaped leaves, are a symbol of peace in many cultures. But as we look more closely, they are composed of images that relate to the colonial history of Africa, to the history of the American Civil Rights Movement, or to African-American musical culture. The microcosm of this work thus manifests the traumatic aspect of the tropics, which are not only a screen on which tourists project the fantasy of an idyll. As a site of colonial exploitation and enslavement, they bear the mark of a traumatic history.