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Dana Mueller
The Devil's Den

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Dana Mueller, Camp Lee at Fort Lee Military Base near Petersburg, Virginia,
Archival Pigment Print, 2009.

Artist Statement
Recent photographs have taken me to Pennsylvania, Maryland and parts of the American South. I focused on former German prisoner-of-war camps and surrounding areas where prisoners were put to work by the US military. At the end of WWII there were over 400,000 prisoners, who worked on local farms and in small industries.

There is an irony where these German soldiers—both high-ranking Nazi officers and foot soldiers—were tilling the fields, cutting the lumber, picking apples, taking care of the American soil. This caring, benign work with the land stands in complete contrast to the horrific actions by Nazis and German soldiers in Eastern Europe of that time, such as Hitler’s scorched earth policy. When photographing these landscapes I wanted to visually evoke the dualities that have characterized the German people over centuries, a people that are capable of both tremendous progress and destruction.

Romanticism has played a role in understanding the relationship of Germans to the landscape. In some photographs the land is overgrown appearing in a kind of primal state, suggesting the return to the original forest. It also suggests a fascist aesthetic of purity promoted by pre-war German culture. Innocence and purity can be seen as a natural desire to regress after one has become corrupted.

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Artist Bio
Dana Mueller was born and raised in Thueringia, East Germany until the fall of the Berlin Wall. She is an Adjunct Professor in Photography and Art History at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. She received her MFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art + Design. Her work has addressed exile, German identity, memory, history and landscape. As part of her current project, Devil’s Den, Mueller photographed sites related to the WWII German Prisoner-of-War experience in the United States. Mueller is the recipient of 2010, 2009, and 2008 Faculty Development Grants at the Art Institute of Boston; the 2008 Next Perspective 2nd Place - HotShoe International, UK; and the 2007 St. Botolph Club Foundation Grant. Her work has been exhibited at Rick Wester Fine Art, NY; Women in Photography | Humble Arts Foundation, NY; Photographic Resource Center, Boston; Massachusetts College of Art + Design, Boston; Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University; St. Botolph Club, Boston; Bridge ARTFair, Miami, FL; and North East Space, New Haven, CT, among others. Recent publications include Artscope | New England Art Magazine; One, One Thousand | A Publication of Southern Photography; Conscientious; and The New York Photo Review, among others.







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