19 December 2012


gabor_arion_kudasz-hungary Christopher Sharpe_ England, UK Christopher Sharpe_ England, UK Text taiyo_onorato-germany sonya_dyakova-uk jan_dirk_van_der_burg-netherlands aaron_macdonald-canadaIris Janke_ Germany (Detail)
From the top: Gábor Arion Kudász — Hungary; Christopher Sharp - England, Uk; (Text) Christopher Sharp - England, Uk; Taiyo Onorato — Germany; Sonya Dyakova — England, UK;  Jan-Dirk van der Burg — Netherlands; Aaron MacDonald — Canada; Detail) Iris Janke - Germany; images courtesy the artists and romka magazine

We live in a generation where instagram, pinterest, facebook and other photo suppliers reveal the daily visual dairies of thousands of strangers. We are overwhelmed by other people's privacy, feeding our voyeuristic greed. The Leipzig-based romka.magazine seems to have picked up on that trend, celebrating the purity of snapshots. Developed in a book series, the magazine shows the favourite photos from lots of professional and amateur photographers, including a little story about each picture. 
With a minimalist and clear design, their seventh issue juxtaposes nostalgic photos of grandparents, of the photographers' youths, loved ones, random experiences or landscapes. The small stories take the reader to a scenic moment, like in the case of the little girl in the subway on Iris Janke's picture (above):

"We were all together on the subway. Alexander, Nicolas, Milena and me — the whole family. It was Sunday, totally crowded and my daughter Milena was so excited when this blonde Romanian girl with her dog came in and sat down next to her. I photographed the two of them together and this is the last picture I took before the girl and her dog got off the subway."

Other great shots are for instance by Christopher Sharp, who submitted a portrait of his grumpy grandmother (image and text above) or Jan-Dirk von der Burg's fantastic image of him and his mother standing next to their giant marihuana plant. romka.magazine leaves space for the ephemeral, for the inconspicuous - it highlights the exclusiveness of emotional value and delivers a comforting justification to why we seem to love looking at other peoples' private pictures and obviously our own dusty photoalbums - nostalgically tripping down memory lane.

13 December 2012


For his ambitious project ‘Artists in the World. The Never Ending Art Trip’ the kind and open Dutch artist André Smits has addressed himself to a giant task: taking pictures of all the artists that he can get a hold of - with the crucial difference, that he only photographs from the rear view. Possessing a collection of over 1500 back-portraits, which are publicly archived on his project’s website artistsintheworld.com, André always follows contact recommendations of artists, curators or gallerists  from only one person per trip - his so called ‘guide’. Consequently, his network gets larger and larger each day, everyone is somehow connected with each other and André documents this process with doodles that he paints on the walls of his country house. When André visited me here in Berlin, I wanted to know what drives him to do such a crazy and similarly brilliant mission. Find the interview below.

Andre Smits_interview_artists in the world_artfridge

4 December 2012


ralf schmerberg_Der Tod nimmt sich einen Tag nach dem anderen._artfridge.deralf schmerberg_Der Tod nimmt sich einen Tag nach dem anderen._artfridge.deralf schmerberg_Der Tod nimmt sich einen Tag nach dem anderen._artfridge.de
Installation views of the exhibition "Der Tod nimmt sich einen Tag nach dem anderen." by Ralf Schmerberg at Mindpirates Vereinsheim Berlin, courtesy Ralf Schmerberg; Video "Ich kann Dir die Welt nicht zu Füssen legen" of the POEM series by Ralf Schmerberg, courtesy Ralf Schmerberg

The enormous space of Mindpirates Vereinsheim in Berlin is an attraction itself: An old mill by the Spree, restored, still furnished by some few tools from the past. This location is constantly used for several projects, such as exhibitions, concerts, parties, dinners or performances. Every event is connected to each other. Sound and video installations become a part of a temporary interior, where people stay and spend time. At Mindpirates Vereinsheim, I always get the impression that I am losing my sense of reality, being trapped in a fantasy world - a paradise for creativity.
The current exhibition "Der Tod nimmt sich einen Tag nach dem anderen" ( Death takes one day at a time) showing a retrospective by Mindpirates founder, video-and photo artist Ralf Schmerberg, is directed to his Berlin, to friends and partners. Filling the exhibition space and his private studio on the top floor, this is is a home match in every sense.
125 photographs, commercial and artistic videos, sound installations and project excerpts: A blast of imagery and poetry. Born in 1965 in Ludwigsburg, Schmerberg started to work as a filmmaker and photographer in 1990 in Berlin, always shifting between art, advertise and activism. The photos, which often document colleagues, making-of moments and portraiture from his commercial jobs, attest to a dionysian and surreal lust for life. Despite the morbid title, Schmerberg's work opposes death. 
The beautiful short film "Ich kann Dir die Welt nicht zu Füssen legen" from his POEM series is one of my favourite works from the show: The video, which is number 5 out of 19 films that he dedicated to Poetry, combines Heiner Müller's words with a room filled with burning wedding dresses.
Schmerberg's distinct aesthetic tolerates a battle between silence and noise, it is colourful and enthusiastic. There is no room for misery and exhaustion.