As If

Daniel Blaufuks

2014 Portugal EXP 60 '

(One hour version) As If is a video film that, although part of my exhibition All the Memory of the World, Part One, is a work by itself and is best viewed in a large exhibition room, because of the small details in the image and its extended length of more than four and half hours (in the original version). It is a film on the Czech city of Terezín (Theresienstadt), that follows the book and DVD I published years ago (Terezin, Steidl). The work was conceived from the start for the large projection screen and was edited from different sources, so constructing a specific narrative and chronological structure which intercalates these alternate layers. These are made of truth and fiction, of so-called document and of historical fake, of romanticised drama and of newsreels. The spine of the work and from which the main narrative takes its cue, consists of the images that I recorded during late May and early June 2014 in the city itself, again called Terezín, now long after its brief period during the war as Theresienstadt. These images are also the larger part of As If, and consist mostly of wide-angled street views, house facades and closed building doors. They also include views of sun bathing girls, bored teenagers, playing children, elderly passing by, fast noisy cars roaring down, beer-buying men, etc., in fact, everything that makes up the life of a normal city and is somewhat reflected by the images from the second largest source, or layer, the fake documentary Theresienstadt made by the Germans in 1944, which pretended to show exactly this: how normal the city-ghetto-concentration camp was. There we can equally see elderly passing by, children playing, youths playing sports and chess-playing men. Some of the images dialogue directly with their previous counterparts, as they were purposely filmed in the same locations.


Daniel Blaufuks has been working on the relation between photography and literature, through works like My Tangier with the writer Paul Bowles. More recently, Collected Short Stories displays several photographic diptychs in a kind of “snapshot prose,” a speech based on visual fragments that give indication of private stories on their way to become public. The relation between public and private has been one of the constant interrogations in his work. He works mainly with photography and video, presenting his work through books, installations and films. His documentary Under Strange Skies was shown at the Lincoln Center in New York. Recent exhibitions include: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Lisbon), Palazzo delle Papesse (Siena), LisboaPhoto, Centro Cultural de Belém (Lisbon), Elga Wimmer Gallery (New York), Museu do Chiado (Lisboa), Photoespaña (Madrid), where his book Under Strange Skies received the award for Best Photography Book of the Year in the International Category in 2007, the year he received the BES Photo Award as well. He published Terezín at Steidl, Götingen in 2010 and in 2011 he had a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro and in 2014 at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Lisbon. In 2017 he was awarded the AICA-MC Award for the exhibitions Léxico and Attempting Exhaustion in the previous year. He has a PhD from the University of Wales. For more information see