The Unknown Europeans

A photographic journey by Kurt Kaindl with texts by Karl-Magnus Gauß 12/Apr/2008 - 15/Sep/2008
Have you ever heard of the Degesi? The Aromanians? Or the Arbereshe? They are Europeans, who are little known outside the confined area in which they live.



One of the great fallacies of our time is the assumption that there is little left in Europe to be discovered. But there is still uncharted territory, regions which have remained terra incognita. They live in the middle of the European continent - the unknown European ethnies. We can discover them. We only need to have the intention for that.

From 1999 to 2005, two Austrians, photographer Kurt Kaindl and author Karl-Markus Gauss visited twelve of the smallest ethnic groups in Europe, for whom the struggle for national survival continues today. These photographs document a Europe where very old national groups try to hold their ground but at the same time daily practice cultural exchange and frontier crossing. They never took on the narrowness of the nation state.

In this respect these hardly known minorities are not only representatives of old vanishing European cultures but, paradoxically, also pioneers of a new Europe where the fall of national boundaries - instead of resulting in a uniform culture - allows ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural diversity to thrive.

Kurt Kaindl
Born in 1945 in Gmunden, he studied in Salzburg concurrently with his training as a photographer. He was one of the founding members of the Galerie Fotohof in 1981 and since 1975 has held numerous photo exhibitions of his work. A teacher at several universities, he resides in Salzburg and where he is primarily a photographer and freelance journalist, as well as the editor of the Edition Fotohof from Otto Müller Publishers.

Karl-Markus Gauss
Born in 1945 in Salzburg, where he lives and works as the author of numerous books and is editor of the periodical "Literatur und Kritik". In 2001, he published a book on his visits to the unknown peoples of Europe under the title "The Dying Europeans" from the Zsolnay Publishing House.