The life of the Japanese-born photographer Seiichi Furuya and his image archive uniquely combine everyday life with and sociopolitical development of the former GDR, especially with 1980s Dresden. To secure the livelihood of his young family, the young architect and photographer worked as a translator for the Japanese construction company that built the Bellevue-Hotel at the time. Together with their three-year-old son, the couple shared the life of the Dresden residents, as far as it was allowed for employees of foreign firms. What we see. Dresden 1984 – 1985 at Kunsthaus Dresden features at their place of origin a selection of 70 color and black-and-white photos and a slide installation, comprising Seiichi Furuya’s central work. Seen with the eyes of a photographer, who faces this political system and culture as a foreigner and simultaneously experiences and captures the intimacy, deep worries and happy moments of his family in this foreign environment, Furuya’s photographs shot in Dresden in 1984 and 1985 provide a unique view of the ‘closed society’ of the socialist republic. Characterized by the historical architecture and remaining ruins, but also by new buildings and the typical style of clothing at the time, the motifs shot at Prager Straße, the Dresdner Zoo or the fairground show how political and private spaces and circumstances penetrate each other.
© Christiane Mennicke-Schwarz