Türken in Deutschland 1979

Candida Höfer


Materials: Slide projection with 80 colour slides

Collection: Courtesy of the artist.

Candida Höfer’s work Türken in Deutschland 1979 is one of her earliest series of photographs. These images, presented as a slide show, portray Turkish migrants who came to Germany during the post-war era, to become part of the labour force under the ‘Gastarbeiter’ (guest worker) scheme. Taken mainly in Höfer’s native Cologne, the images are intimate portraits of Turkish people undertaking their daily lives – at work, being together with family, their social habits and their leisure time. Höfer states: “Being in their homes was not even mainly about photographing. They had questions to ask, stories to tell; they had forms that needed to be filled out. I felt their strong wish to be accepted, to become integrated, to belong”. Türken in Deutschland 1979 provides an insight into the migrant experience, and the desire to settle and assimilate. Höfer had actively sought to challenge the perception of this minority population whose presence had divided public opinion. Around this time, Höfer also produced works called Diaserien (Slide Series), which comprised sheets of slides printed together with information texts Höfer had commissioned from sociologists. The intention was to provide educational material for people in schools and community centres about Turkish people, including their history, culture and life in Germany.

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