New Reports from the Countryside
Identkit Photographs (1) of Landscapes Created
with the Identikit of the German Federal Criminal
Police Office (BKA)

Kassel landscape architect Regina Riedel spoke with Gerhard Lang about his identikit photographs of landscapes

One of Gerhard Lang’s concerns in his art work is the perception of landscape. Many years ago, he began producing identikit photographs of landscapes with the help of an identikit apparatus (2) formerly used by Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). When the latter began introducing computer-based technology in 1994 and phased out the old equipment, it was bought by Lang. Since then, he has been regularly producing his own meticulously assembled identikit photographs.

Regina Riedel:
What role does the identikit machine play in your research?

Gerhard Lang:
My work deals with concepts in the field of science in general and in the field of criminology in particular. For instance, at the beginning of every investigation the police ask what the person they are searching for looks like. The identikit photograph created by the police is simply an image whose relation to reality can be appreciated only after the person has been found. I see several similarities between this approach and my work. We could, for example, take one of my identikit photographs and then travel the countryside searching for the landscape it represents. Until it’s been discovered, the identikit photograph remains just an imagined picture of an unknown region. [...]

[Excerpt from the interview in 1999, in the special publication (Separatum): New Reports from the Countryside, 2007]

(1) Identikit Photograph: see Glossary

(2) Gerhard Lang previously employed the identikit in 1992 in his work Palaeanthropical Physiognomy. That work was presented at the Venice Biennale in 1995. More about the identikit in Lang’s work:

- Palaeanthropical Physiognomy. Identikit photographs

- Identikit Photographs of Clouds
- Schattenblumen

In another cycle of his work, Gerhard Lang creates landscapes with the help of slide projectors. See Work: New Reports from the Countryside. Gerhard Lang’s Landscape Performances with Slide Projectors

Ill. I: Identikit photograph LPH A 1998.0211

Ill. II Identikit photograph LPH C 2014.0512

Ill. III: Identikit photograph LPH B 1999.0511

Ill. IV: Identikit photograph LPH B 2001.1710





Gerhard Lang © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn