Photographs give me a way of telling a story: blinked snatches of time, rectangular excerpts of vision, no sound, no smell, no touch, yet with a strange depth to their flatness. I like to let the pictures talk or whisper to each other in groups or sequences rather than showing them in mute isolation. Often, the story is more about what's lurking in the gaps between the individual pictures. Or it speaks through discrete correspondences, in echoes, visual malapropisms or double entendres of forms, colours and movement. A lot of the time, all I find is the vestige of something, traces of a former presence, a strangeness that jogs my mind.
This shot (above) I found in a small chapel at the top of a mountain on the island of Elba. All kinds of people have ascended the rough, broad stone steps of the arduous path leading up to the chapel, following the stations of the Cross. It's something of a gruelling trek in the heat. Occasional small plaques and wooden crosses by the path testify to the untimely deaths of pilgrims for whom the climb was too punishing. On their arrival visitors leave little notes, photographs, requests and tokens on the rear wall of the chapel, creating an urgent palimpseste of fears, hopes, desires, dreams, quests, requests. As a touching sediment of shared yet undirected memory this is also how I see the clusters of my photographs.
Somewhere in the middle of the cloud of images is me, looking, but also many others who came and saw before me.
Born in 1955 in Roehampton, north London, GB.
1964 first photograph with a Kodak Instamatic (of a chicken, out of focus: now lost).
1974–78 studied French and German literature at Cambridge University (GB).
1979 moved to Hamburg. Worked as a packer at a mail-order firm, as a researcher in a bank, as a typesetter and layouter in a graphics agency, as a
freelance English teacher, as a translator (and still am) – and played drums in a couple of punk bands.
1985 became a founding member of Westwerk, a self-run artists' house and public space in the centre of Hamburg. Part of the programming and curatorial team for Westwerk's gallery for visiting artists and venue for concerts, installations and performance. Continued taking photographs, showing them as slide installations at events in Westwerk, then in exhibitions.
Don't forget the music: I began playing as drummer and singer in various projects, later joined
The Heffels with constantly morphing line-ups, currently with Carsten Dane (keys, organ,
samples, voice) and Christoph Meier (various basses). Another band, once called Ausser Atem that played "fake jazz" inspired by "that" Godard film, later mutated into
Abou Dzoufl, a trio with Gunnar Schmidt (trumpet/electronics) and Ronald Gutberlet (bass).
Currently living and working in Hamburg – as an artist, translator and musician, in no particular order but with like degrees of intensity. All these activities interweave, get tangled, muddled, inform each other and converge. My life and work is rooted in Hamburg but I try to get away as much as possible.
2020 »Red Coat« (in the series of CORONAVISION I, w/ Swen Kählert as guest), in Westwerk, Hamburg;
2013 Artist residency at Casa Lina, Elba/Italy, awarded by the Swiss foundation Casa Lina
2005 »Lovewalk«, Westwerk, Hamburg (s)
2002 »Nur Hier«, MME Galerie, Hamburg (s)
2022 »still:leben«, (part of the group exhibition still:leben curated by »Prolog – Zeitschrift für Zeichnung und Text« (Berlin),
2021 »Elsewhereness«, nachtspeicher23, Hamburg (in the group exhibition Grüsse von Hier/Greetings from Here
w/ Ingrid Rodewald, Jonathan Esperester);
»A Swimming Symphony«, (in the series of CORONAVISION II) sound projection: video by Josephin Böttger/music by
The Heffels, Westwerk, Hamburg
»Westwerk Slot Machine«, audio collage in collaboration w/ Carsten Dane, Tobias Levin (radio feature as part of
the music and art festival PAPIRIPAR curated by Felix Kubin), Hamburg
2020 »Caged«, (part of the group exhibition ART OFF 2) Westwerk, Hamburg;
»Durch die Blume«, (in the series GARTEN E, curated by O. von Pock), Westwerk, Hamburg (w/ Olivia von Pock,
2017 »Entr’acte« (part of the exhibition FERMATA) in Flat 1, Vienna/Austria;
»The Heffels Aquarium«, music, film and light installation/concert in Westwerk, Hamburg;
»Geh, gegangen/Going, gone« (part of the exhibition ICH BIN DEINE MUTTER) in Haus 8/Atelier im Anscharpark, Kiel;
»Surfing the Great Tsunami«, MOM Gallery/Gängeviertel, Hamburg
2016 »Surfing the Great Tsunami«, Odder/Aarhus/Holterbro, Denmark
2014 »Moveable Feast III«, (part of the VELADA REMIX II), Bremer Frühling, Bremen
2013 »Cinema Alemán Último« (video reel, part of the VELADA Sta. LUCIA XIII), Maracaíbo, Venezuela;
»Destination Unknown«, Frappant, Hamburg
2012 »In search of celebration« (part of BETRIEBSAUSFLUG Hamburg-Leipzig), Westwerk-Leipzig, Leipzig;
»Moveable Feast II« (part of the Velada Remix I, also as curator), Hamburg;
»Moveable Feast I« (part of the VELADA Sta. LUCIA XII, also as curator), Maracaíbo, Venezuela;
»Confirmed Sightings« (part of APOCALYPSE HOW?), Westwerk, Hamburg
2001 »A Family Affair«, Bedford, Great Britain
1993 »Your home is my home«, Lodz, Poland
1989 »Cities over Water«, 369 Gallery, Edinburgh, Great Britain
1991 »Up the Wall«, MUU Gallery, Helsinki, Finland