December 15, 2020 – May 15, 2021
Printed pages – Books – Videos
“From Book to Wall” tells the story behind the printing of Gilles Peress’ long-awaiting book about the Northern Ireland conflict, Whatever You Say, Say Nothing. Printed pages, book dummies, proofs and videos – the raw material of bookmaking – offer insights into the inner process of this work. It was back in 2003 that Peress first spoke to Gerhard Steidl about the idea for Whatever You Say, Say Nothing. In the following years, the book gradually took shape in close cooperation with the Steidl Verlag publishing house and is now being published in 2021. The background to the book is the 1972 massacre by the British Army of Irish civilians. Gilles Peress (b. 1946 in Neuilly-sur-Seine), was only 26 years old when he photographed so-called “Bloody Sunday”. During the 1980s, Peress returned to Northern Ireland, intent on exploiting the possibilities of visual language and perception in order to grasp this intractable and ever-escalating conflict. Whatever You Say, Say Nothing is intended as “documentary fiction”. Photographs from several decades are assigned to 22 fictional “days” to shine a light on the spiral that history becomes during a seemingly never-ending conflict – when every day becomes a repeat of the same day over and over: days full of violence, demonstrations, uprisings, unemployment, and grief, but also full of “craic” (an Irish expression for joy and fun), as people simply tried to forget their own situation. Gilles Peress kept the project under wraps for thirty years – the Test Run therefore gives exciting first insights into the photographs and the book project that developed over that time.