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Face to Face

Face to Face

Face to Face

Seiichi Furuya

This is a story about love beyond death.

The photographer Seiichi Furuya met Christine Gössler, a student of art history, in Austria in 1978, and after just a few months they married. From day one, Furuya documented her and their bohemian life, travelling across Europe. After the birth of their son in 1981, she became increasingly involved in the world of theatre. As she was devoting herself to her acting lessons, she started to show signs of schizophrenia. Christine committed suicide in East Berlin in 1985.
Even decades later she remains Furuya’s great subject. Revisiting his archives he created five books entitled Mémoires. But in 2018, when he again browsed through his archives, Furuya found something unexpected: in between were photographs of him taken by Christine. Often at about the same time that he had photographed her.

The presentation of “Face to Face” is one of simple elegance. A photo of her on one side, a photo of him on the other. Sometimes the two pose in front of the same background, sometimes they are unclothed, sometimes they are in black and white, sometimes they are with other people. We see her, then we see him. Often the couple shows us two points of view on a single moment. But Christine’s death looms over everything like a pending premonition. We search in her smiling face for clues. We see her change over the years. As a mother with her new born in her arms, she is extremely thin. Is she just tired, her body exhausted by the new tasks that parenthood brings with it or is she sick?

Always in the same place but never in the same photograph, their insurmountable physical distance, separated through death, is palpable. Yet at the same time there is something comforting in the images. As if she were saying, “I see you, too.”

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