With the series „Ghost Town“, Petersen manages to rest our sight in passing upon the dictum of change, which here does not allude to the changing physiognomy of the human, but to a small town, respectively a rural region. All houses seem to have been deserted, which of course is also highlighted by the English title, but the artist is not capturing a film set or the aftermath of a nuclear catastrophe, but a village after the compulsory relocation of its former inhabitants, in order to allow surface mining of lignite coal. Petersen emphasises a virtual state and a goodbye, which is supported symbolically and atmospherically by the twilight oft he evening hours. The metamorphism of the small village into a gigantic open surface mine is not directly visualised, but with the knowledge oft the villages lacking future, it is nevertheless spelled out in front of our inner eye.
A small village on the lower Rhine basin, which by now has even been erased from Google earth, is documented in the last moments’ of its existence. Prior it was other villages and towns, and later it will be others that vanish without a trace. Why doors and windows were boarded up, cannot be unlocked by the observer. The following destruction is withheld by the conditional nature oft he pictures, same as the painful farewell of people from their home-made houses, from their farms, which might have been possibly operated over several generations, or from the church, whose desecration and later demolition will affect even non believers with unease. Even if Helena Petersen does not show us all these things, she still via her subtle pictures manage to instil associations and emotions within the viewer.