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from the project Gärtners´ Voyage
by Sibylle Fendt

In summer 2008, Lothar Gärtner and his wife Elke decided to dare a big voyage – most probably their last one. They had been traveling Europe on caravan all of their joint lives. Two years before, Elke had come down with Alzheimer’s disease. Lothar wished to care for her in their common house as long as possible and accompany her on her way.
In March 2008 Sibylle Fendt started to take photographs of Lothar and Elke in their home.
In August and September 2008 she accompanied them on their last voyage to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Saint Petersburg and back home.
The pictures that emerged from this are no travel documents. They are symbols for a journey into unknown terrain.
In February 2009, Elke died completely unexpectedly as a result of a heavy fall.

by Sibylle Fendt

Of course I am biased. I have met Sibylle Fendt 2003 at les Ves Rencontres De La Photgraphie Africaine in Bamako and I instantly liked her . A woman with a raspy voice, extravagant but not fashionable clothing and the friendly face of a girl. And I liked and like the intensity and intimacy of all he projects she was and is going after. I recognize Germany in some of the images, this German couple in this very German home, this very German caravan and this correct German clothing. But actually Gärtners´ Voyage is a book about love, is a book about caring. A tender book about tenderness. A book about life, about being old, a book about one of those catastrophes we don´t expect to happen to us, but they will, in some form or an other.

Written on this small piece of paper,
a message:

I want you to be.
I want you to be.
I want you to be.