Anne Heinlein was born and grew up in the GDR. Restricted areas in the GDR were commonplace, as they were present everywhere, including in the cities. After the end of the GDR, most restricted areas were dissolved. The stationed troops withdrew from the areas. What remained was landscape contaminated on a large scale by ammunition remnants and chemical substances. Hundreds of hectares of soil-contaminated land that has become a nature reserve because no one can enter this land without danger.
Anne Heinlein roamed the former restricted areas of the NVA and GSSD and researched the former archives of the GDR's State Security Service, creating large-format, black-and-white photographs of the restricted areas. Images of unconditional forest, dense undergrowth or undergrowth that obscures the view into the distance and thus becomes a natural stage. In addition, reproductions were made from school soldier teaching material on war and combat strategies, as well as a find of photographs for propaganda purposes that virtually glorify these strategies.
Secret Land is a work in which observation takes place on different levels. It hints at people and their fates, it does not allow for an exact location, much remains enigmatic and diffuse. The work is an artistic examination of GDR history, of military drill, which in apparent perfection prepares us for the great war, of the past and how we feel it, of the appearance of reality and hidden truths that cannot be clearly reconstructed in retrospect.