As the setting for WAR ROOMS, Austrian photographer Katharina Gruzei (b. 1983) chose a photographic journey through the halls of Moscow’s Museum of the Great Patriotic War. She turned her gaze away from its large-scale war dioramas to focus on areas of the space in which museum structures and staging strategies become apparent. The large-format images in this oversized artists book both capture the epic scale of war and portray the museum’s pathos-filled murals of wartime activities engaging in absurd dialogue with the museum’s daily functioning. Painted soldiers appear entrenched behind a desk that belongs to the museum staff; a gathered group of military commanders seem to stare at a red phone placed in the room; and, set in the middle of painted battlefields, museum doors suggest an escape route out of war. In this series of images, Gruzei combines fundamental questions about museum staging and the representation of war with a subtle criticism of the institutions themselves.
11 ¾ x 15 ¾ in. / 18 pp w/insert / 16 color
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