Patrick Alphonse, Pavel Chirkin, Sebran D’Argent, François Dupuy, Siu-Ling Ha, Jürgen Heinemann, Peter Jordanov, Dalia Karg, Xavier Maurel, Némorin, Georges Saillard
Exhibition: September 9 –
December 17, 2016 extended until March 31, 2017
Opening hours 2016: Wed-Sat 13-19h (closed on Dec 15)
Winter break: Dec 18, 2016 – January 5, 2017
Opening hours 2017: January 6 – March 31, 2017 Fri & Sat 13-18h
Admission: 5 € / reduced 3 € (free admission under the age of 18)
From snowcapped Russia to urban life in Egypt; from the African savannas to Tibet’s mountain plateaus – the photographers of the artist collective HEAVEN are united by their passion for traveling through distant countries. Atmospheric visual spaces reveal expanded regions, human life and dreamlike figures. Reaching beyond familiar travel images, the varied and rich motivational photographs evince the open, tranquil view of the inner voyager. HEAVEN is a return to nature, an encounter with foreign cultures as well as a journey inward.
All the photographs – whether black-and-white or color – emit an affective sublimity and fragile intimacy. They are characterized by versatile, multi-faceted expression and clear visual language. Formally, the fine play of light and shade stands in the foreground – often contrasted with stark exposures and distinctive chiaroscuro contrasts. Distinct from the flood of today’s digital images, the artists work almost exclusively in the field of analog photography – an homage to traditional artistic techniques such as photogravure.
Photography as its own Language
Behind HEAVEN stands an artist collective and an artistic publication in print since 2001, which do not attempt to explain the medium of photography. Photography is seen as a language of its own that needs no further description. And in the way that the medium speaks for itself, its direct relevance and particular poetry is revealed.
HEAVEN brings together eleven artists from different generations and points of view:
Patrick Alphonse, Pavel Chirkin, Sebran D’Argent, François Dupuy, Siu-Ling Ha, Jürgen Heinemann, Peter Jordanov, Dalia Karg, Xavier Maurel, Némorin and Georges Saillard.
HEAVEN is the first group exhibition of these artists and, for several members, the first public presentation of their works. The show includes a total of 100 photographs.
Patrick Alphonse (* 1965)
Patrick Alphonse works with photogravure on handmade Japanese paper – a technique that originated in the 19th Century and is closely associated with the beginnings of photography. The process of photogravure created works that traverse the space between photography and graphics. Patrick Alphonse’s works are characterized by clear lines and strong contrasts. The imagery is at once clean and complex. He sees himself in the tradition of the Humanist Photography (from the French tradition of “photographie humaniste”), which closely links humans to their environment. While connecting earth and sky in infinite shades of gray, the artist tells stories of life and death. Patrick Alphonse called these works “Le chant de la mélancolie” (The Song of Melancholy) and complements each picture with an apt lyric.
Pavel Chirkin (*1991)
The photographs by Pavel Chirkin captivate by both their delicacy and their expressiveness. His homeland Russia is depicted – snowy expanses as well as urban spaces. Humans seem never to appear in these photographs, but evidence of their presence is in buildings and streets. It is a melancholy, sometimes humorous look at a world of snow and ice. The strong exposures highlight the silence, which is deepened in the winter landscape. Pavel Chirkin moved from Moscow to Paris in 2013 to learn classic photographic processes there. By experimenting with different materials, Pavel Chirkin developed a personal artistic style. His work with silver gelatin is central.
Sébran d’Argent (*1971)
Sebran D’Argent, who has worked as a self-taught photographer since 1990, has traveled the world with his camera. For his analog photographs he has used film footage and documents, some of which are no longer available today, and works with different cameras – from a self-built wooden apparatus to a large-format camera.
In addition to travel photography in countries such as India, Tibet and Myanmar, Sebran d’Argent’s work also includes fashion and nude photography. At first glance, the exposed works seem to break with the theme of travel: naked women dive into blue-green water, and others are only slightly covered by transparent materials. “Woman is the greatest journey,” says Sebran d’Argent. His series “Liberty” shows a strong picturesque character and draws on art-historical imagery suggestive of Jean- Auguste-Dominique Ingres.
François Dupuy (*1959)
Whether in Europe, Asia, Africa or America – François Dupuy is always looking for something special in the everyday. Guided by his curiosity, he has traveled to almost every continent. The exhibition HEAVEN presents its series from Egypt, in which he captures the cultural character of the country in a range of snapshots. From still life to urban life, from scenic expanses to detailed images, these are rich photographs. They are embossed with strong light-dark contrasts. Some are photographed against the light, so that the figures appear as black shadows that move like silhouettes against the background.
François Dupuy began photographing early in his life. Although he often works in color, his preferred form of photographic expression remains black and white.
Jürgen Heinemann (*1934)
Jürgen Heinemann drew on numerous trips to Latin America, where he took part in the cultural life of the local populations – Peruvian weddings, Indio cults, Haitian street scenes, Venezuelan working families and Colombian orphanages. Sharp contrasts and a rough graininess in Heinemann’s photographs reveal the lives of ordinary people, their joy as well as sadness. The works are characterized by expressive chiaroscuro contrasts and nuanced gradations of shadow, while the elaborate pictorial compositions reveal Heinemann’s interest in a clear style.
Jürgen Heinemann studied photography at the Folkwang School of Design in Essen. From 1962 he worked as a freelance journalist until he was appointed in 1981 as Professor of Photography and Photojournalism at the Fachhochschule Bielefeld. His works have been exhibited in many prestigious galleries and museums. The exhibition HEAVEN presents a selection of Jürgen Heinemann’s photographs from Latin America, taken in the 1960s and 70s.
Peter Jordanov (*1986) and Dalia Karg (*1982)
Dalia Karg and Peter Jordanov both studied architecture at the University of Arts in Berlin, but now work only as photographers. Their passion for photography arose in traveling and by meeting Sebran d’Argent. Using traditional techniques, Dalia and Peter work with different formats in both color and black and white. Versatile photographic expression and the play of light and color are central parts of their work. By experimenting with the development of the photographs, the two artists create their own custom-color language.
Their joint work, resulting in this Ethiopia series, powerfully combines portrait and landscape photography. In the vastness of the country Dalia and Peter reveal the inhabitants’ confident gaze into the distance.
Siu-Ling Ha (*1980)
The French photographer Siu-Ling Ha specializes in Polaroids and silver gelatin prints. Her passion is India, where she began photographing in 2004. She has traveled for more than ten years in the country, capturing impressive moments with her camera. With a distinct sense of light and shadow, Siu-Ling Ha reveals the intimacy of everyday situations like a girl outside a window or a school boy in a bus. The subject of the exhibited works is carefree childhood. In bright colors, these photographs shine. At the same time, a child may shyly retire into the shadow or secretly turn away from the camera. In Siu-Ling Ha’s play with long exposures and visual uncertainties, her photographs convey a timeless, dreamy mood.
Xavier Maurel (*1981)
The photographs of Xavier Maurel tell of the purity and beauty of the world. He banishes natural spectacles on paper, thereby effectively promising peace and grandeur. The exhibition shows impressive images made at the Lake Pangong Tso – 4,000 meters above sea level on the border of Tibet, India and China. While Maurel reproduces the lake in beautiful shades of blue, he captures the rough, rocky landscape in black and white. Xavier Maurel photographed what he encountered on his way, free from any staging. Thus, he seeks to reproduce the moment.
“Depending n’aime pas que l’on puisse deviner ma présence sur la photo, je cherche à ce que j’ai reproduire devant les yeux sans le modifier par ma présence ou ma technique …” (Xavier Maurel)
An important part of Xavier Maurel’s work is the manufacturing process: the work in the darkroom as well as dealing with paper and tools.
The photographs of Némorin are varied – in addition to black and white photographs, the works range from picturesque color photographs to abstract compositions. In these images he is not only looking for unusual perspectives on the landscape, but also cleverly staging people through his imagery. At the same time, his photographs are not arrangements but snapshots that emerge partly in secret. The play of light and shadow and geometric elements are here central.
It is “the trail of a dream, the written memories, a resistance force and the boundless humanism” (Patrick Singh) that keep cropping up in the works of Némorin.
An important part of Némorin’s artistic technique is the processing of photographic papers with emulsions as well as traditional methods of development. The exhibition presents Némorin’s photographs from Myanmar produced from 1999 to 2006.
Georges Saillard (*1963)
Georges Saillard works with the almost forgotten technique of photogravure and, before printing, often inserts different colors, so that every print varies slightly. The exhibition shows a series dedicated to Henry David Thoreau and his 1854 book “Walden.” This was the American philosopher questioning all possessions – a subject lost in today’s consumer society, but finally nothing more shattering. Thoreau retreated into nature for two years, an experience which also attracted Georges Saillard. In his retreat he made photographs of his exposed subject – again and again in images of a mythical figure, the naked Eve. The dream-like atmosphere of these images is enhanced by the special colors and the long exposures.
Georges Saillard started photographing at age 13. For many years he worked for renowned newspapers and magazines until increasingly turning to his art. His work has been exhibited in France, Africa, the United Arab Emirates and China.
Galerie 36 – a new place for photography in Berlin
Among the restoration and opulence, between Gründerzeit and modernism – what emerges at Chausseestraße 36 is a unique location devoted to historical and contemporary photography. Since 2012 this former officers’ house has been carefully renovated to preserve its rich historical substance using sustainable, and whenever possible, original materials. The reconstruction and expansion of the building follows an architectural approach to design, furnishing the 5-story space in various historical styles from 1900 until today.
The gallery’s exhibition space stretches across 400m2 of the building. The space is characterized by the concept of the salon which breaks decidedly with the idea of the gallery as a neutral white cube. Besides exhibitions of national and international photographers as well as the advancement and promotion of young talent, Galerie 36 is an open space for cooperation with private collectors, museums and other institutions.
Currently home to a library, publishing house, art collection and analogue photo lab – following completion in 2017, the house will host further cultural activities. Galerie 36 is under the artistic direction of Mona Mathé.
Upcoming exhibition at Galerie 36: