Landmarks is a conceptual documentation of architectural art objects on former mining dumps in the Ruhr area of Germany. The Ruhr area has been significantly impacted by industrialisation and mining over the last 200 years. As the coal was extracted from underground, inevitably the surrounding rock was also mined. This waste rock was largely unsaleable and so most of it was dumped, creating artificial hills in an otherwise flat landscape. There are more than 250 spoil heaps in the Ruhr area. Through a process of rewilding, and the erection of a number of art installations, some of these piles of slag and rubble have become unlikely tourist attractions. As such, they have been photographed many times. To offer a fresh perspective I decided to show the installations as mysterious objects, hoping to encourage multiple interpretations. The structures could be viewed as sculptures, giant toys, architectural models or just carefree points of longing in a man-made landscape.
Swen Bernitz – born 1970 in Berlin (East). Self-taught photographer, since 2008 documentary long-term projects on the topics of built environment, urban landscapes and modern urban development.