While researching their project War Primer 2, Broomberg & Chanarin visited the Bertolt Brecht archives in Berlin. There they discovered a remarkable artifact: Brecht’s personal bible. The object caught their attention because it had a photograph of a racing car stuck to the cover. Inside the pages they discovered that Brecht had used his bible as a notebook; pasting in images, underlining phrases and making notes in the columns. This was the inspiration for their illustrated Holy Bible.
For this project, the artists have combined images taken from The Archive of Modern Conflict with phrases in the text, which they have underlined in red. The book also contains a short essay by Israeli philosopher Adi Ophir, who observes that God reveals himself predominantly through acts of catastrophe. Ophir considers the biblical text as a parable for the growth of modern governance.
With this in mind, Broomberg & Chanarin explore the complex relationship between photography, catastrophe and state power.
Adam Broomberg – Oliver Chanarin