Christian Borchert (1942–2000) started working on Familienporträts in the late 1970s. For this project, he initially photographed his friends and then, upon meeting sociologist and writer Irene Runge, who asked him to collaborate on the book Ganz in Familie in 1982, began to take an interest in the social constructions of East German families. After the book was published, Borchert received several requests to continue his work and with the financial support of the Kulturbund der DDR entered the homes of 130 families from all different backgrounds and locations, ranging from Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, Magdeburg, Hoyerswerda, and Mecklenburg to the island of Rügen. The series, some of which is presented here, captures nuclear families surrounded by their personal belongings and points to the diversity that existed under socialism. After German reunification, the photographer returned to the series, this time with the support of the Kunstfonds, and photographed the same families again. Using the same camera, focal length, and horizontal format, these images not only present a strong conceptual and formal narrative, but also reveal the passage of time and changes in family structures.
Christian Borchert (1942-2000) was born in Dresden and was active there and in East Berlin.
His first retrospective, The Tectonics of Remembrance, is currently taking place at the Residenzschloss
Dresden (Kupferstich-Kabinett), Albertinum Dresden, and other venues in Dresden and will remain open
until March 8, 2020.
The photographer's estate is kept in the Deutsche Fotothek. His works belong in the following collections: Berlinische Galerie, Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur, Berlin; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Kupferstich-Kabinett, Dresden; Die Photographische Sammlung/SK-Stiftung Kultur, Cologne; Art Collection Deutsche Börse, Frankfurt/Main; Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf.