religion, communism, secret police, surveillance
Through pictures and images found in the archives of the secret police in four countries, Romania, Hungary, Moldova and Ukraine, this exhibition tells the story of how totalitarian states tried to “capture” religion in order to control and eliminate those they deemed undesirable. The materials on display explore how the secret police represented, visualised and systematised the groups that they were pursuing. The images and materials that they confiscated from religious communities or that they created themselves in the course of ‘anti-religious’ operations have a dual character: they were used by the secret police as incriminating evidence against communities but they also represent the memory, cultural patrimony and stand testimony to the creative spirit of these groups and individuals. In exhibiting these materials we temporarily liberated them from the archives that preserved them despite the regimes’ intention to eradicate the people, beliefs and cultures that produced them. This exhibition represents just a small fragment from the vast material and visual traces of religion to be found in secret police and other state archives.