“Once it held laughter, once it held dreams. Did they throw it away, did they know what it means”
– Tom Waits, from House Where Nobody Lives
The exhibition “Once it held laughter, once it held dreams” by the emerging Zurich-born artist Roger Eberhard (*1984) was created in Hamburg, taking the impact of airtraffic noise as its central focus, picturing a now depopulated street in the village of Neuenfelde. Borrowing Tom Waits’ lyrics for the exhibition “Once it held laughter, once it held dreams”, from the song ‘House Where Nobody Lives’, Eberhard critically looks into a deceiving harmony of a state-constructed idyllic reality. With technical dexterity, the artist skilfully combines sound-visuals with landscape photography: quiet and thoughtful this three-part series simultaneously illustrates unbearable noise, an overwhelming emptiness, and controversial political decisions. For “tumulus” (2011) Eberhard documented a deserted island in British Columbia, with “In Good Light” (2011) he created a series addressing the homeless, and for his series “Wilted Country” (2010) the artist focused on deserted villages throughout the USA’s Midwest. As with each body of work before, “Once it held laughter, once it held dreams” is underlined by Eberhard’s central themes of isolation, migration and alienation.