The case study for DISTURBED HARMONIES [ANTHROPOCENE LANDSCAPES] touches on myths of wilderness, hunting as a symbol of power, changing occupations, colonialism, and controversial logging activities in Białowieża forest that is often referred to as Europe’s last primaeval forest.

Axel Braun, Rootplate, Białowieża Forest, 2017

The project deals with concepts of nature and myths of wilderness by investigating the history of the Białowieża Forest at the border of Poland and Belarus. It is considered one of the last primaeval forests in Europe.

The precious ecosystem could be preserved because the forest was declared a royal hunting reserve for Polish kings in the 16th century. However, countless traces of human interference can be observed in the vast territory. Situated in the bloodlands (Timothy Snyder) of Europe, it witnessed changing occupations for centuries that went along with colonial-style exploitation and reached their tragic climax with the genocides committed during National Socialism.

This case study was undertaken in 2017 when the forest received international attention because the Polish government had allowed logging in formerly protected areas.

An invitation by Iris Sikking to present a case study of DISTURBED HARMONIES at Krakow Photo Month 2018 inspired the project.


In 2020, the forest became the site of a humanitarian crisis caused by Alexander Lukashenko‘s strategy to transport refugees to the EU border while Polish border guards denied them entry.
Due to these developments that were followed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the border dividing the forest has been fortified with fences, and additional military forces have been moved to the region.

Axel Braun, Łutownia, Białowieża Forest, 2017
Axel Braun, Dąb Stanisław August Poniatowski, 2017
Installation view
Krakow Photo Month 2018, Galeria Szara Kamienica
2018, May 25 – June 24
1/3 Installation views
BETALAND (group show), Galerie Conrads, Düsseldorf
2019, March 16 – April 27 

(works in the background by Sven Drühl and Rosemary Laing)

A handmade artist book was created during a Covid lockdown in 2020/2021. It is a dummy for the planned anthology of artist books for DISTURBED HARMONIES [Anthropocene Landscapes].

1/9 Axel Braun, NOXIOUS INTERFERENCE, 2021
Artist book, hand-made dummy
„Lockdown-Editon“ 3 + 2 e.a., 72 pages, 250 x 325 mm