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Group Exhibition

»auf • grund«

Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie | Seminar Ina Schoenenburg

Oleksandra Bienert • Natalia Bronny • Jennifer Haberland • Werner Helgemeir • Anja Maier • Dominik Maringer • Kristina Popov • Ph. Rudolph • Isabel Schröer • Thomas Wagner

Is it possible to use photography as a means to get to core of something, to actually look through? According to Roland Barthes, the answer is no. We may merely let our gaze “wander over the serene surface of objects”.

Still, ten seminar participants of the Ostkreuzschule tried their best to capture the essence of being. For more than a year, they dove into the art of portrait photography under the guidance of Ostkreuz photographer Ina Schoenenburg.

The result is ten works that show deep, and at times intimate, insights about the nature of humanity today.

Find further infos on the Instagram channels of Ostkreuzschule Seminare and of the respective artists, see links below.

Poster design: Florian Lamm von Lamm und Kirch | |

Participating artists

“I’m not a victim. I’m a survivor.”

The Russian war in Ukraine, which was going on since 2014, broke on the 24th of February 2022 into a full-scale Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Millions of people had to leave destroyed Ukrainian cities. Who are the women, who fled from Ukraine to Germany because of the Russian war? What are they thinking about? What do they feel? Where do they take their power? Ukrainian-born photographer Oleksandra Bienert has searched for a conversation with these women.

“Boska Polka”

Sacrifice for the family, pride of the nation: “Matka Polka”  lives on throughout the centuries of Poland’s eventful history – nurtured by the Catholic cult of Mary, Communist convictions, and varying nationalisms. Until today, the archetype of the Polish mother and wife is expressed through poems and monuments, pop music and Instagram accounts. What traces does “Matka Polka” leave in the lives of Polish women? And which female realities are overshadowed by her ideal? A search between Germany and Poland.

“Still human?!”

What remains of the individual when you get really close? What is real, what is imagination? Exchangeable and unique, the body becomes a landscape: Structures blur. Perspectives fluctuate. Viewing habits dissolve. A portrait as intimate as abstract and yet only one: Human.

“A new desire”

The time of waiting is over. What could a future look like as a guidance for todays actions? What do we want to preserve?
The renaturazid open pit landscape in the south of Leipzig symbolizes for Werner Helgemeir radical changes. At one open pit there are still excavations for lignite mining, but soon there shall be a giant lake, completing Leipzigs Newlakeland. Is this enough to answer our questions?

“Location Location Location”

Anja Maier portrays a Berlin suburb in transition. The crises of the 2020s turn the apparently safe small village into a desirable place. Here in Brandenburg, newcomers meet long-time residents, and expectations meet habits. In day and night portraits, Maier shows what people are hoping for their daily lives – and what they end up finding.


Berlin, capital of faith. Not a bad joke, by god. There are more than 250 religious communities in the hip metropolis. The photographer Dominik Maringer goes on a search and finds religious places in the most unusual spots in the city, next to the big houses of worship. They almost seem like parallel worlds. He portrays believers and religious leaders and finds communities similar to his Catholic Austrian home village.

“This Journey of Mine”

In a Time of Rigidity, when nothing is as it was,
in a Time when longing for touch is the new Reality,
we draw Strength and Security from what once moved us.
Is Seclusion the new Reality?
Is the Skin the new Clothes?
Is Anonymity the new matter of Course?

Ph. Rudolph
“ROCA The Dog”

A dog, whose personal rights are protected, shows off his elegance, power, courage and audacity.

“Federal Agency for Germany”

The photographer Isabel Schröer looks back: at her colleagues from their team at the federal agency for work, who have been taking care of the labor market integration of asylum seekers since 2015. In between emergency accommodations for refugees and dusty administration offices, she goes back to find out: Who were we? And how are we now?

“Cat and mouse”

The Arauca River between Colombia and Venezuela is a borderline and lifeline. The boatmen who steer the elongated motorboats are the backbone of the river’s formal and informal economy. They transport travelers from one country to another. Many also smuggle hot goods, primarily gasoline, which is heavily subsidized in Venezuela. The smugglers and the naval forces of both countries along the Arauca River arguably could not survive without the black market. Jobs are rare, especially since hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans left their homeland for Colombia. The boatmen, who live in the shanty towns right on the waterfront risk imprisonment and confiscation of their boats and engines. Other black market actors, corrupt security forces and a Colombian guerrilla group are reaping the fat profits.

OKS – Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie Berlin

Sep 30 — Oct 3, 2022
Opening Reception: Thursday, Sep 29, 7 pm

Mariannenplatz 2 · 10997 Berlin
[District: Kreuzberg | Borough: Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg]

Opening hours for this exhibition: Daily 11 am – 7 pm

Admission free

+++ Please pay attention to the current Corona regulations of the respective gallery/institution. +++ Bitte beachten Sie die aktuellen Corona-Bestimmungen der jeweiligen Galerie/Institution.

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