The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest, it’s largest river, and probably the largest chunk of the world that we humans still do not quite comprehend.
To me nothing can surpass the Amazon rainforest. In no other place on earth is nature so present. In no other place can such an abundance of life be found. In the air, on the ground, in the water of the rivers. So overwhelming. So irreprensibile. So powerful.
And just as irrepressible, just as overwhelming, is the human culture that encounters, confronts and attempts to control this primeval wilderness. Civilization pushes the boundaries of this virgin territory; tests it, conquers it, only to finally succumb to it, time and time again. Taming only in order to praise the untamed.
The first humans came here approximately 12,000 years ago, but with the arrival of the Spaniards things began to change quickly. In 1542, Francisco de Orellana conquered the jungle by successfully completing the first voyage along the Amazon River from the Andes Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. He and other explorers who survived the trip returned from »The Green Hell« with horror stories of starvation, disease and man-eating indigenous tribes. Nonetheless, more and more people were drawn to the wilderness.
In the humid air of the Amazon, they all collide: Escapists, fortune hunters, nomads, warriors, gold-diggers and homosexuals in exile.
Every single time I return to the Amazon, I look for a small path to guide me in, till the forest envelops me. I try not to worry that humans are destroying nature; I know that it will win out in the end. I have seen plants shoot up through oil slicks and I know that cockroaches can survive more plutonium than humans. That eases my mind.
The AMAZONAS book and exhibition represent my personal journey into the wilderness. The texts are excerpted from the essays in the book. I have taken the liberty of assembling photographs from different years, countries and cultures throughout the book, because that is how I have always experienced the Amazon. Not as static or fragmented, but fluid and coherent.
To the Amazon I admire, fear and fear for.