>Projects >2022 >Forensic Excavations Inventory

Beatrice Schuett Moumdjian

Forensic Excavations Inventory


I have deconstructed all the photos that were left to me by my mother, about 100 photos. They were taken in Bulgaria and Germany between 1930 and 2000. From these photos I scanned hundreds of objects, such as toys, furniture, body parts belonging to me or family members, and then extracted them digitally. I write down something about each object that reminds me of it, or information about its origin or meaning. As a next step, I enlarge and print the objects and laminate them on plastic material (Kapa), cut them out of the material with a scalpel and photograph them again.
The work tells an autobiographical story that begins before I was born. It discusses the effect that politics (such as the socialism of Bulgaria and the GDR, whose after-effects I felt in the 80s and 90s, growing up under a false identity, the questioned Armenian Genocide or the beginning of the Internet) had on my everyday life. My own private family photo archive multiplies into a much larger number of photos. The extracted photographic objects turn into documents, evidence of the way in which global political events and the family unit are interrelated.
The photos are a journey through time – shadows are doubled. They are those that fell on an object at the time the photograph was taken and those that were created at the time the photograph was taken again. Fingerprints on the Polaroid, cracks and unevenness were also transported.
Since 2017, I have staged the objects in various iterations.
In addition to the photos from my family photo archive for the nGbK Berlin’s site-specific poster project Kunst im Untergrund, at the Stadtmitte underground station in 2019, I also used historical photos depicting the Armenian genocide and the associated arms trade between the German Empire and the Ottoman Empire. I have cut out weapons and objects belonging to the Turkish and German officers who carried out the deed together.
I placed the cut-out Kapa objects at relevant locations in Berlin and photographed them in medium format, e.g. in front of the gates of today’s thyssenkrupp Group, which was one of the German arms suppliers to the Ottoman Empire. In this way, I made a connection between my own family history and the political events that affected it and located it in Berlin. I printed the resulting photos on paper, arranged them on a cardboard surface and photographed them again together with handmade information labels.
For the Up In Arms exhibition, I staged the objects in front of a black background in my living room.

Photo installation
70 photo prints on matt paper, 29 x 45 cm
200 hand-cut objects, Kapa with laminated Hahnemühle RAG archive print, various sizes – work in progress


*Born 25 August 1986 in Sofia, People’s Republic of Bulgaria, into an Ottoman-Armenian family, emigrated to Berlin in 1990. Education 2013 – 2020 at the art academies in The Hague (NL), Weimar and Leipzig. Diploma 2020 in media art/expanded cinema with Clemens v. Wedemeyer at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig. Since 2022 master student photography with Tina Bara, HGB Leipzig. 2017, Study Prize of the Friends of the HGB Leipzig, 2019, Competition Winner Art in the Underground of the nGbK Berlin, 2020, shortlist Art in the Urban Space “Karl Marx Allee”, 2021, Research Scholarship Visual Arts of the Berlin Senate of Culture, 2022 Funding Stiftung Kunstfonds as part of Neustart Kultur.
Work experience in the journalistic environment and contexts of activist work. Since 2022 co-founder and co-curator of the research residency “ost in space” in the Erzgebirge. Participation in exhibitions at Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, Goethe Institut Montréal, MdbK Leipzig, neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst, Galerie Bernau, Saalbau Neukölln, Museum Brot und Kunst Ulm, Copenhagen Photo Festival and Noorderlicht International Photo Festival, among others. Screenings e.g. 2018 Kasseler Dokfest and interfilm Berlin, 2019 LUFF.
As a multi-disciplinary artist, I want to investigate facts, situations, natures, cultures and traditions, historical events and their areas of tension by detaching their individual elements from their context and modelling them in a new, playful context. I often decouple the rules of one concept and apply them to another concept in a different field. Archive and literature research, interviews, audio art, photography, film, text, object, performance, public art and installation are all part of my practice.