Sie hielten an und überquerten

Ils s’arrêtèrent, puis traversèrent

Photo/Text # 71

CR 205. Year 1974

Sie hielten an und überquerten Photo T71 Jochen Gerz Cr 205 Web

Sie hielten an und überquerten den Graben zusammen, der die Strasse begrenzte.

Text and picture, the two components of description, are thereby subject to their specific possibilities for existence inside and outside time; the text, itself tied to the stretching of time, and the picture which exists without a purpose, and which seems to intend to make a certain moment present for us. Gerz gives the two elements aspects of timelessness in his particular use, when he uses the narrative time of the texts in the time-indifferent form of the past, which in the European culture of writing both eliminates the working time of the writer and transposes the time-quality of the action into an incomprehensible dimension. That corresponds with the way photography withdraws from all the intended certainties of place, time and space; what is most apparent in the pictures in Gerz’s foto/texts is their own lack of direction, their refusal to be read or identified. The certainty of our usual attitudes in reading and seeing, most of which are based on the reconstructability of time and place, is broken open in favour of uncertainties that are directed to the viewer’s and reader’s own actions: the certainty of time, which ultimately remains to us, is what is necessary for us to perceive and understand the work of art.

Ulrich Krempel 1988



2 b+w photographs, text (handwritten with ink on cardboard and typed on paper), mounted on cardboard, wooden frame, 58 x 73 cm, stamped: gelebt - nicht gelebt, Jochen Gerz, dated and signed: 26/1/74 Jochen Gerz

An edition of the same title exists as well (781).

In addition to the German original a French translation has been authorized.

Kunsthalle zu Kiel.
Private Collection


Basel 1974


I: Basel 1974, pp. 5-6. Lichtenberg 1974, pp. 64-65. Berlin (DDR), o. J., pp. 260-261

Access general bibliography

My name is Jochen Gerz