Relics of the Cold War: Photographs by Martin Roemers

Friday, November 13, 2020 - Sunday, October 23, 2022
Wende Museum West Gallery and garden



Wars not only have consequences for people but also for architecture and landscape. Once the troops went home after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Martin Roemers began to explore the places they left behind. He concluded that the processes of decay that had already commenced needed more time in order to symbolize fully the end of this pivotal era. He decided to wait.

Since 1998, Roemers has conducted "photographic archeological research" on the physical remains of the Cold War. Visually, he seeks out stillness in the remains of military infrastructure that is slowly and steadily being overtaken by nature. Traveling through former "enemy territory," Roemers explores these deserted military installations through his medium-format camera, finding rusting tanks and destroyed monuments. Descending into underground bunkers, he captures a still present sense of paranoia and hyper-alertness. On both sides of the Iron Curtain he finds enormous amounts of nuclear shelters, air force bases, shooting ranges, rocket launch pads, border fences, and radar stations, all built with a shared sense of fear. 

Relics of the Cold War is the reflection of a militant society that prepared itself for a global nuclear war that would have ensured its own demise; but it is also the consideration of the will toward de-escalation, after which military infrastructure is abandoned and left in disrepair.

About Martin Roemers
Martin Roemers (b. 1962) is a Dutch artist and photographer. He studied at the AKI Academy of Fine Arts in Enschede, Netherlands, and his work has been exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions across Europe, Asia, Australia, and the United States including Paris Photo and Art Miami. Roemers is represented in numerous collections including that of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas. He has received two World Press Photo Awards among several other prizes. Roemers is represented by Anastasia Photo Gallery in New York. See more of his work at

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