God´s own country, US, 2013-2017
Between 2013 and 2017, German photographer Michael Bofinger traveled the United States, taking several road trips along remote highways from the East Coast to the West Coast, to document American reality from his perspective in his work. The result of these trips, which were inspired by the exhibition „New Topographics: Photographs of a Man Altered Landscape“ and the photographers who participated in this exhibition as well as Ed Ruscha, Joachim Brohm, Alec Soth and writer Jack Kerouac are precise, matter-of-fact black and white photographs that depict a flat, mostly frontal representation of buildings, landscapes, and views of the American surface which lead to his first photographic series „God´s own country“.
The series depicts the desolation and, likely, the result of extreme neoliberalism in recent decades, in a brutal and melancholic way. Empty billboards, abandoned gas stations, gloomy motels, lonely rest stops, and deserted parking lots, in his interpretation, make it clear what new American surface a deeply, technologicaly fueld, neoliberal economic order produces – an in his eyes, a man-made, inhumane, unjust, and broken world, which must inevitably lead to hate, anger, and destruction.
Michael Bofinger’s work can therefore also be seen as a critical reflection on the social and political conditions in the United States and many parts of the world. His photographs do not show the beauty of the land, but the unadorned desolation and abandonment that arise from the decline in investment in infrastructure, society, social services, and education. They make it clear that the exclusive, brutal promotion of economic growth alone is not sufficient to create a fair, sustainable, content, and peaceful society. Bofinger’s work can thus be understood as a call to society to engage with these issues and trigger social change.