Garden of Eden, 2008, series of 6 diptychs, Archival Pigment Prints, framed, each 40 x 40 cm, edition of 5 + 2AP
During the start of the financial crisis in September and October 2008, Stradtmann went regularly to Canary Wharf, fascinated by the atmosphere at London‘s financial district. He discovered a small park between the towers where bankers went to eat lunch. Watching them bring the crushing pressure of the office environment, their natural habitat, into this green haven, he felt he was witnessing a sort of violation. To him, the park became a stage for repeated subverted reenactments of the Fall of Man: men suffering despair and loss that came from power and greed were fleeing into the Garden of Eden. Their stress made them lonely, often hiding, whispering or turning away from others seeking solace in the park. These photographs acknowledge the invisible, unexplainable phenomenon behind the financial games whose role nobody can truly understand but whose pervasive influence everyone must acknowledge. The combination of the portraits with views from the park underlines the mystery in the religious sense: in these photographs, the natural (but constructed) refuge reconstructs the symbolic meaning of the Garden of Eden as both, a place of paradisiacal innocence and the site of the origin of sin and mankind‘s wrongdoing.
Text by Dr Elizabeth Savage, Cambridge University
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