Jacob Aue Sobol

Jacob Aue Sobol – Road of Bones

Location: Bastion Oranje / Building H / Room 10

The road has an innocent sounding name: the R-504. But behind this businesslike designation lies a sinister reality. The R-504 is also called the “road of bones” because it was built by political prisoners from the gulag. The Danish Magnum photographer Jacob Aue Sobol has captured the life along this road in the series Arrivals and Departures.

The R-504 runs between Jakutsk and Magadan in Siberia. The road is more than 2000 km long, of which 1197 kilometers lies in the Sakha Republic and 835 kilometers in Magadan. The road was constructed to open up Siberia for gold mining. The work was done by forced laborers, large numbers of whom were sent to Siberia beginning in the 1930s. The road owes its name to the many victims who died here; their bones became part of the pavement. It is said that each meter cost a life.