Critics’ Picks

Horst Ademeit, 4325, 17.01.2001, Polaroid, 4 x 3 1/2".


Horst Ademeit

Delmes & Zander | Berlin
Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 37
April 29–July 23

For more than forty years, Horst Ademeit dedicated his life to tracking his obsession with cold rays, a form of radiation he believed was poisoning the immediate environment around his small apartment in Düsseldorf. Ademeit attempted to combat the rays by eating sand and cigarette ash, inserting knots of nylon into his ears, and attaching lengths of copper wiring to his body.

As hardly anyone besides him believed in the existence of this subtle but noxious form of pollution, he began to rigorously document its existence with the technology at his disposal––namely Polaroid photographs, on whose frames he would inscribe long, detailed notes in minuscule handwriting. Several dozen were taken a day, every day, for almost twenty years, amounting to a collection of thousands of pictures that he would carry with him in a trolley everywhere he went to protect them from his landlord, who he was convinced was trying to destroy his life, even by poisoning his food.

The centerpieces of the exhibition are chronologically ordered Polaroids and journals from Ademeit’s vast archive. Together, they form a brief glimpse of a project that is more than a mere evocation of paranoia and an extreme system of belief, but a poignant and often revealing diary of a life lived in the margins of the past century.