What does home mean in times of flight, migration and gentrification, of racism and exclusion? How does one use a loaded term that always means more than home? And how does one deal with roots to which one no longer feels completely connected? Photographer Benjamin Lewin explored these questions: in 2020, he traveled to Vogtland, the region of his childhood and youth. For several weeks, he let himself drift through the villages and landscapes of the region he left years ago. His own story overlaps with the Vogtland of today, which has meanwhile experienced a shift to the right - far-right parties such as the AfD and the "III. Weg" are experiencing an increase in popularity, and since 2019 both have been represented in the district council as well as in the city council of Plauen.
Lewin's pictures impressively demonstrate that a confrontation with origins never happens in an unbiased way, but is often only possible from loss and distance. He approaches the area and its inhabitants through the surroundings and the urban fabric. Facades and streets alternate with views of nature; people are deliberately absent from the photographs. In this way, a portrait of home succeeds via the outside, which leaves room for discord, shame and discomfort.
At the same time, the work "Vogtland im Frühling" shows neither East German specifics nor right-wing insignia in the attempt to understand the region. Lewin depicts inconspicuous, everyday spaces that can be found in this or similar ways everywhere in Germany. Indirectly, they also tell us something about the relationship to friends, family, and the parts of the self that have remained behind in the alienated homeland. In this way, Lewin's ethnographically motivated exploration assembles itself into a laconic snapshot of a remembered region: His approach is never affirmative; he deliberately endures in-betweens. The transferability of this experimental arrangement reveals the fragility of the concept of home. Home is nothing more than a construct - it may shape us, but in the end it is we who constantly reshape the image of home.