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Jörn Vanhöfen

Madrid #108, Germany, 2009

C-print mounted on aluminum 122/147 cm

Courtesy of Kuckei+Kuckei, Berlin

Jörn Vanhöfen documented with his camera the derelict space complete with the vestiges of its original jail cells and inner rooms of one of the buildings most identified with the Francist totalitarian regime of repression and annihilation. The Carabanchel Prison, built in Madrid by Franco after his victory in the Spanish Civil War. The building housed political prisoners and dissidents, many of whom were convicted in summary proceedings and executed without fair and just trial. Throughout his dictatorship, Franco systematically persecuted all his opponents and had them executed or imprisoned indefinitely. The prison’s building represented his dark and oppressive regime, and the photographing of its main space serves as both a testimony and a memory of this horrible era. Removing the building’s original inner walls and partitions turned it into a free space that can also reveal to the spectator the stories of the people who were detained there. The photographed drawings and graffiti on the walls of each and every cell turn the photographs into historical testimony about the house and its occupants in a period that walls bear its witness.