The Independence Palace in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam was designed by Ngô Viết Thụ as a synthesis of classical and modern Vietnamese architecture and completed in 1966. The building then served as the home and office of the President of the Republic of South Vietnam until 1975, when it was stormed by North Vietnamese troops. After the iconic photograph depicting a tank bulldozing through the main gate of the palace went around the world, it marked the official end of the Vietnam War. In 1976, the building was honoured as a historic monument of national significance.
Says Ulrike: In the work cycle The Palace – Then and Now I examine the handling of historical testimonies as well as their intended reception. Between 2013 and 2016, I visited the palace several times and found that dealing with history is by no means static. The palace and its inventory seem to be subject to permanent reorganization and modification. In the individual images I reconstruct the real world of experience and bring it into agreement with my abstract space of thought. For this, I have printed selected photographs in varying sizes and cropped out individual structures with the scalpel, rearranged them on coloured backgrounds to be re-photographed. Furthermore I reproduced individual images of the 38-piece work in black and white, in order to merge past with the present.