SHUT DOWN - Industrial Ruins in the East
Crumbling walls, a decaying reminder. Industrial ruins. Few other places express becoming, being and decline in a more haunting manner than closed down factories, mines and foundries. But no matter how relentlessly deterioration and disrepair have taken over, the aesthetics and uniqueness of former workshops, tunnels and towers, of mineshafts, power plants and turbine halls are not so quickly obliterated.
In his search for abandoned industrial buildings, Christoph Lingg travelled across Eastern Europe all the way to Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia. Albania, Croatia, the former DDR, Poland, Rumania and Ukraine are among the fourteen countries in which he tracked down numerous industrial ruins of all types – buildings once devoted to heavy industry, textile mills, plants of the chemical and oil industries, sugar and fish factories, mines and former breweries.
Christoph Lingg’s photographs capture the melancholy aura of a bygone era. They make up an archive of remembrance – of markers along the way in the realm of technology, progress and decline. At the same time, they take us directly to the heart of the industrial and social history of various areas. They reflect not only economic developments, but also the way people related to work and to the environment, as well as the identity of different countries and regions.
Even though it is expensive to demolish old factories, this is rapidly being done. In a few years’ time most of these industrial ruins will have disappeared – torn down and carted away. What will be left then? A few walls, some rubble, occasional iron skeletons and the photographs of Christoph Lingg. Nature will reclaim history and new factories will doom old ones to oblivion. “Closed down” – an exhibition and a wistful warning of the ravages of time.
© Susanne Schaber
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