Asked about the most important influence on her work, Lia Darjes answers: “Visits in the Berlin Gemäldegalerie.” This influence is clearly visible in her new book “Tempora Morte”. The photographic series was created in 2016 in Kaliningrad, Russia, and documents the modest roadside market stands where old women sell the modest harvest from their garden or the nearby forest to supplement their meagre pensions. “In autumn you may find three apples, some raisins and two bulbs of garlic. At other times of the year maybe two jars of homemade strawberry jam and two cabbages or dried fish.”
Theoretically, these images are therefore documentary images, they could also be understood as a reportage on topics such as old-age poverty or micro-economics – but in fact, the subject matter is iconically exaggerated. Through the use of a small flash and the underexposure of the background, Darjes creates still life studies reminiscent of the opulent paintings of old Dutch masters. “I had long been looking for an opportunity to do a contemporary still life project. But I did not want to stage those still lifes in the studio, but find them in the real world, extracting them from reality. I could do just that for Tempora Morte.”
Lia Darjes was born in Berlin in 1984 and grew up in Hamburg. She studied with Prof. Ute Mahler first at HAW in Hamburg and then as a master class student with Prof. Ute Mahler and Ingo Taubhorn at Ostkreuzschule in Berlin. Since 2018 she herself has a teaching position at Ostkreuzschule. Her award-winning work is exhibited internationally. The book to the series “Tempora Morte” will be published in the fall of 2019 with a text by Andrei Zavadski at Hartmann Books.