As with his earlier series AFTERMATH and LOOP, Jörn Vanhöfen set off on a journey.
In our current exhibition we are presenting selected works from TALMID, a series for which Jörn Vanhöfen followed the 1873 journals of a twenty-eight-year-old man on his travels through the Middle East.
In September 1873, Ignaz Goldziher started his five-month journey to the Middle East in Budapest. He was young, eloquent, inquisitive, daring and, as a devout Jew, educated in the scriptures of Judaism and Islam. The scholarly destinations of his trip were the libraries and cultural sites of Islam in Damascus and Cairo, as well as Jewish sites in Israel, Damascus, and Constantinople. He searched for historical scriptures, researched Islamic teachings and the Arabic language, and was the first non-Muslim granted permission to study at Al Azhar University in Cairo.
His personal journals from this trip reveal his joy and sadness, passion and curiosity, in addition to his aversions and arrogance; in other words, the multi-faceted portrait of a twenty-eight-year-old young man who is full of expectation and eagerly yearns to experience the world.
With his life’s work, Ignaz Goldziher is regarded as the founder of modern Islamic studies. He taught at various European universities and in 1905 was the first Jew to be appointed a lifetime position as professor in Budapest. November 13, 2021 will mark the 100th anniversary of Ignaz Goldziher’s death.
Nearly 150 years later, Jörn Vanhöfen followed this very emotional journal and traveled to a region shaped by the Arab Spring, political-religious conflicts, and the aftermath of the war in Syria.
Once again, the results are images of beauty and horror, i.e. a continuation of his work from AFTERMATH (2011) and LOOP (2015), set this time within a cultural-historical context.
Parallel to the exhibition, an artist’s book featuring thirty-six photographs from his travels and a text by Navid Kermani is being published in an edition of ten. A second book is also being released and will feature the original handwritten entries from Goldziher’s journals and their transcriptions. Both books are giclee prints on Japanese Washi paper.
TALMID marks the conclusion of his documentary series on themes of beauty and horror.
Jörn Vanhöfen, born in Dinslaken in 1961, studied photography at the Folkwang School in Essen and at the HGB Leipzig, where he graduated as a Master Student in 1993. He worked previously as a commissioned photographer, curator, lecturer, and has dedicated himself exclusively to his own projects since 2000. Published books include: Aftermath, Hatje Cantz Verlag (2011);HeimatFront with Charles Simic, Verlag Thomas Reche (2013); LOOP, self-published (2015); and Herzwort and Kopfwort with Herta Müller, Verlag Thomas Reche (2016).