Claudio Hils


Since 2004, University lecturer at the ‘Fachhochschule Vorarlberg’ Faculty Media Design, Dornbirn, Austria

2004-2009, Project coordinator and curator of the ‘European Central Bank Annual Photography Award

Since 2008 Professor for Photography at the ‘Fachhochschule Vorarlberg’ Faculty Media Design, Dornbirn, Austria

Since 2004, appointed member of the ‘Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie’

Since 2004, University lecturer at the ‘Fachhochschule Vorarlberg’ Faculty Media Design, Dornbirn, Austria

2000-2005, Curator and project leader of the photography scholarship by the city of Ravensburg

Since 1999, appointed member of the ‘Deutsche Fotografische Akademie’

Since 1993, Photographer and communication designer, work for national and international magazines, several own documentary books and exhibition projects

1985-1993, Degree in Visual Communication at Essen University

1962, born in Mengen, Germany


Red Land, Blue Land

This project and publication contains photographs by Claudio Hils taken at the troop training grounds in Senne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. During man oeuvres Red Land stands for enemy, Blue Land for friendly territory. The artist approaches the terrain with what appear to be standard pictures of landscapes already suggestive of a specific intention. In what follows, the reader will observe a series of mysterious pictures of a seemingly surreal ghost town which, until recently, has provided the setting of numerous rehearsals for military emergencies. Traces of military activity are to be found everywhere: targets in the shape of human beings, puppets which, in the most peculiar of ways, appear to invigorate the scene and yet which, in fact, emphasize the emptiness and lifeless atmosphere of the terrain. Hils’ documentary photographs, thus reveal something of the contradictory nature of Man’s relationship to himself and to his environment. In their accompanying essays, Ralf Schönlau and Anna M. Eifert-Körnig provide the reader with socio-historical background information on the Senne landscape together with a close analysis of the artistic work of Claudio Hils.


abseits – aside – à l’écart

Few landscapes of Germany’s Southwest managed to preserve a unique balance of nature, work and culture like the rural space settled between the Danube, the Allgäu and Lake Constance.

Yet long ago this idyll began to deceive. Now, where ‘home’ is the nicest word for backwardness (Martin Walser), it is being permiated right into the natural growth, the touristy barrocated blue skies by the harbingers of modernization. Roadsworks to nowhere, derelict barns, discarded tractors left aside sheds, semi-demolished farmhouses, plastic sheets used as silage film, omnipresent fishbone pavement, selfdrawn murals, scaffolding in the fields, green field development with brown field design – all helpless gestures of beautification.



In his photographic projects Claudio Hils explores controversial themes, such as the surreal scenery of war at an army training ground or the inhumanity of urban architecture in the new metropolitan mega-conurbations. In this volume he documents the evidence left by years of violence in Belfast.

The experience of conflict is deeply embedded in Belfast's collective consciousness. Evidence of conflict is contained within information archives throughout the city, where photography is employed as a means of interpreting, objectively, the effects of violence. Medical x-ray technology registers the body as site of trauma, police forensic photography particularises scenes of crime, surveillance cameras militarise civic spaces. These archives are extensive, systematically organized, and primarily contingent on use. In contrast, private and semi-public stores of conflict-related memorabilia are presently being formulated into official public archives. As collections of objects (uniforms, propaganda) become redundant, they are recontextualized and transformed into historical artifacts. Archive Belfast observes a history under construction.