Mock Rabbit

Jana Müller
Falscher Hase / Mock Rabbit
With an essay by Mira Anneli Naß
Monroe Books, Berlin 2024

72 pages
23,3 × 3,0 × 0,8 cm
Book deisgn: Daniela Weirich
ISBN 978-3-946950-16-5

Jana Müller’s new artist book, »Falscher Hase / Mock Rabbit« opens by shedding light on criminal investigations in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), offering an artistic exploration of historical narratives and personal reflections and a contemporary journey to crime scenes on both sides of the world. Making use of her extensive online archive at http://falscherhase., Müller delves into artistic discussions surrounding crime. At the core of the research is Müller’s 86-year-old father, a former police detective with first-hand experience in murder cases and espionage within socialist Germany. Despite the official denial of crime in the GDR, Müller’s father shares insights from his past. »Falscher Hase / Mock Rabbit« places conversations between the artist and her father – accompanied by photographic documentation and textual fragments from Müller’s childhood memories – alongside historical documents sourced from various archives. A detailed glossary elucidates key terms and provides historical context on the administration of crime in the GDR.

The visual narrative unfolds through a selection of images, ranging from archival evidence and familial artifacts to crime scene photographs. Of particular significance is the exploration of the infamous »crossword puzzle case,« a murder that transfixed Halle/Neustadt in the 1980s, prompting Müller’s journey through Saxony-Anhalt (D). Müller later expands the scope of her research overall, including a trip to Christchurch (NZ) in search of evidence of other crimes. Photo theorist Mira Anneli Naß contributes an analysis, examining parallels in media representations of crimes throughout the history of the two German states, compared with Müller’s photo-forensic-artistic approach. Taking reference from the stacked files within which Müller conducted her research, the book’s format makes use of papers of varying colors and sizes, precisely bound to reflect different categories of text. The open cover invites readers into Müller’s immersive world, while a large-format postcard provides a record of her exhibited image-based installation. Central to the narrative is the ritual of Müller’s father cooking meatloaf during her visits, symbolizing both familial warmth and the complexities of his character, ultimately lending »Mock Rabbit« its title.