Open Call | Exhibition
April – July, 2021
Halle 14, UG, Spinnerei Leipzig
Department of Photography, Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig
Organised and curated by Özlem Altin, Tina Bara, Sophia Kesting and Sandra Schubert
Collaboration: Irma Blumstock, Annette Kisling, Karoline Schneider
As part of the Leipzig f-Stop Festival for Photography and parallel to the exhibition “Trust” in Hall 12, students of the Department of Photography at the Academy of Fine Arts exhibited their artworks. These were selected through an open call and a workshop with the two festival curators Nina Strand and Susan Bright and created in response to the festival theme “Trust/Vertrauen”.
Trust as the state between knowing and not knowing. Trust forms the basis in technological and human interaction between present and future coexistence. What is the social value of trust (TRUST) in the 21st century? What and whom do we trust in our daily lives and in our artistic work? Whose trust do we need to make images? How much can we trust the viewers?
Students of the Photography Department at the Academy of Fine Arts have taken on the loss and regaining of trust and taken up the central theme of the 9th Leipzig F-Stop Festival.
Jane Beran, Viktoria Sophie Conzelmann, Noah Evenius, Philipp Farra, Hannah Francke, Nancy Göring, Philip Hagen & Tatjana Hub, Raisan Hameed, Lisa Kuznetsova, Fritz Lord, Mahshid Mahboubifar, Tess Marschner, Dimitrios Mavroudis, Sophie Meuresch, Jana Ritchie, Julius C. Schreiner, Emilia Trog, Matteo Visentin, Laura Wichmann, Hyejeong Yoo
9th f/stop-Festival for Photography Leipzig
Financed with funds from the Support Bureau, Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig
"(Re:)Collect / (Re:)Connect"
Seminar | Exhibition
April 2020 – April 2021
Department of Photography (Second Year Photography) Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig
Falk Haberkorn & Sophia Kesting
04-07 – 04-11-2020
IDEAL art space | Schulze-Delitzsch-Straße 27, 04315 Leipzig
04-08 – 04-11-2020
Ortloff art space | Jahnallee 73, 04177 Leipzig
From the very beginning, photography has been a medium that has irreversibly revolutionised the representation of “the world” in quality and quantity. Early on, people created archives in order to be able to fall back on photos as visual stores of information. But on what basis and under what conditions are images considered worthy of preservation and by whom? How are such archives to be 'read'? And what is the photographic archive anyway?
Sophia Kesting and Falk Haberkorn devoted two semesters to these and related questions in a seminar of the same name in the basic photography course. In addition to theoretical excursions, the initial focus was on contemporary art positions that approach the archive from different perspectives. In spite of – or because of – Covid 19, Holmer Feldmann, Paula Gehrmann, Jens Klein and Arwed Messmer were invited to participate or even to be present in person.
The second part of the seminar was reserved for the conception and realisation of the participants' own artistic works, which take up the theme and develop it further. As a result, the double exhibition (Re:)Collect / (Re:)Connect now brings together sixteen very independent student positions that question the world we live in anew – on view at Kunstraum Ortloff and IDEAL art space from 7 to 11 April 2021.
Esraa Dayrwan, Malwine Farwig, Hannah Francke, Aaron Gaab, Henry Giggenbach, Rebecca Häfner, Philip Hagen, Inka Hilsenbek, Tatjana Hub, Eunjung Hwang, Susanne Kontny, Clarita Maria, Lukas Naujoks, Sophie Patzer, Nina Schwartz, Laura Wichmann, Vincent Wolff
“Academy of the Future”
Antidisciplinary Workshop | Publication
Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig
Sophia Kesting & Daniel Niggemann
How do we want to learn together? How can and should we become professional artists? What does professionalism mean in our field, which is strongly defined by individual questions and work processes? What forms of collectivity and networking form a structure in which work can continue after leaving the university?
What form of social coexistence should the university facilitate? What places must be created for this?
In the workshop, we want to develop possible strategies and utopias in order to question fundamental, established structures, especially in times of increasing political influence on universities, and to find our own, new ways before others write the definition of the place.
The atrium of the Academy of Visual Arts temporarily became a collective utopian space of interactions. People could eat a free lunch on a rolled-out lawn, talk to each other and write down their own ideas and visions of a (utopian) Academy of the Future on the long table. Excerpts from this panel were reproduced and, together with documentary photographs, found their way into the HGB Magazine #2 as a contribution by the department of Photography.
Publication, Concept Sheet Photography:
Victoria Sophie Conzelmann, Fedele Friede, Sophia Kesting, Jana Mila Lippitz, Sophie Meuresch, Daniel Niggemann,
Florian Weber, Juliane Würfel
Ludovic Balland, Anne Dietzsch, Louis Hay
Anne Dietzsch, Louis HayPhotography:
Victoria Sophie Conzelmann, Sophia Kesting, Juliane Würfel
Exhibition | Publication
October 2019 – February 2020
Class for Photography and Media, Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig
Sophia Kesting in Cooperation with Karen Irvine, Chief Curator and Deputy Director
Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago
Organisation, planning, conception and realisation of a publication as well as organisation of an exhibition with students and graduates of the Class for Photography and Media.
Presentation as part of the Rundgang of the HGB Leipzig in February 2020
Concept: Sophia kesting & Bureau Est
Design: Bureau Est
Financed with funds from the ‘Support Büro’ of the Academy of Fine Arts, Leipzig
January 8, 2020
Text: Karen Irvine
"Construction materials, cars, roads, new buildings, old buildings, fences, electronics cables, plastic chairs, billboards, garbage, an airplane passenger loader, mottled paper, people, scaffolding, warped reflections, statues, felled trees, cardboard boxes, messes…
This publication contains a cacophony of images that in aggregate impart a sense of chaos and displacement. Quirky and sometimes mysterious, the works address a variety of themes and subjects. Created by numerous authors – all current or former students in the class of Joachim Brohm at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig – the images are inspired by the idea of being in transit. Appropriately, when mixed together here, they convey a fractured and disjointed experience―one that is bolstered by the publication’s unbound design.
As I write these words, I am in transit―sitting on an airplane, flying home to Chicago from Berlin where I have been living for the past half year. During my stay in Germany, I had the pleasure of working with the photography and media students of Klasse Brohm. Most of these students are away from home as well, of numerous nationalities, and hailing from various cities in Germany, the UK, Ireland, Israel, and Romania.
If we are lucky, to be in transit – as I am, and as the Leipzig students are – is exciting and only mildly fraught. Displacement can mean that one’s senses are heightened, and that life is full of surprises and challenges. Although sometimes tinged with melancholy, the experience of living in a new place can be exhilarating and intense. Some of that excitement is palpable in this book.
But displacement can also cause, and be caused by, trauma. As millions of people around the world are forced from their homes due to war, politics, and climate change; as inequity and injustice persist; and as technology increasingly isolates and replaces us, it is easy to despair about our collective future. Many of the images here reveal a low-grade anxiety about physical and mental displacement. A hole in the ground is the shape of a grave. A bone-white hand rests tensely on a mousepad. A bale of turtles clings to a fake island in an artificial habitat. Corporate-speak appropriated from privately-owned public spaces smacks of insincerity. Classical statues turn their backs to us. Ubiquitous plastic chairs are chained to a fence like prisoners. Trees are cut down. Piles of unidentifiable garbage are heaped in snow. A narrator, documenting a lone traveler’s journeys, writes that he had developed “a sense of estrangement” from his own surroundings.
Artists communicate in unique and important ways to help us understand the world around us. Hopefully, as these Klasse Brohm artists move beyond Leipzig and school, their works about displacement and transit will ultimately promote its opposite, as they poetically instill a touchpoint for belonging."
STICK TOGETHER: a free space for multicultural art
Text: Tarek Azizeh
"In cooperation between the Academy for Transcultural Exchange (ATA) and the Academy of Visual Arts (HGB), an experimental art workshop entitled "STICK TOGETHER" took place from 11 to 14 March 2019. Thirteen students from different courses of study such as graphic design, media art and photography took part. On the last day of the workshop, the individual and collective works created by the participants were exhibited. These were fine art paintings, photographs, a performance and abstract audiovisual presentations. One of the collective works involved all participants equally. The central themes of the workshop were awareness, perception of space and body, communication as well as improvisation and change of perspective.
The decisive factor for the workshop was the effort of the HGB in general and the ATA in particular to create a space for artistically active people from different cultural backgrounds to interact and exchange practical and theoretical knowledge, regardless of their identity, cultural affiliation and sphere of action. Finally, the STICK-TOGETHER participants came from Germany, Syria, Iraq, Eritrea and Romania. This gave them the opportunity to go beyond the exchange of knowledge and learn more about the state of art in the respective countries, what challenges the artists there face, but also what positive aspects there are.
Since most of the participants had neither worked together in advance nor knew each other personally, it was first necessary to create a familiar and harmonious atmosphere in an innovative way within a comparatively short time. This was done with the help of playful tasks that made it possible to communicate with the others and to perceive them better. For example, they listened to music together and gave physical expression to their own feelings. Each participant then wrote down or painted a word, a sentence or a symbol to describe the moment experienced together with the others. Put together, this resulted in a painting that everyone was involved in creating.
For the participants, the workshop was the first of its kind. They were able to work in an atmosphere that was different from their everyday studies and enabled them to get to grips with new methods and tools for working and learning, and also to come into contact with other artists. In this way, the meaning and significance of art was revealed to each individual once again, be it with regard to their own artistic path or the work in a collective with other artists from different disciplines.
Another special feature of this experiment was that the participants stayed in one and the same place for the entire working time and had to work under the same conditions regardless of the differences between their artistic approaches. This was reflected not least in the collective works. The work already mentioned, in the creation of which everyone took part, contained, for example, concepts, symbols as well as spontaneously created drawings that were improvised and further elaborated during the workshop. The workshop was basically based on the spontaneity of the participants, who were not prescribed any topics. Rather, they let themselves be inspired by the atmosphere they experienced together and made use of the materials and utensils available.
Despite their different artistic values, the results of this experiment underpinned the importance of artistic stimulation. This is capable of broadening the horizons of recipients and artists alike, replacing a one-sided view with a pluralistic visual culture that welcomes diversity and expands the common human denominator, of which art is undoubtedly one of the main components."
This publication was produced on the occasion of the workshop “STICK TOGETHER”, March 2019, HGB Leipzig.
Concept / Organisation Workshop / Publication: Sophia Kesting
Workshop leader: Molina Gosh
Photographs: Sophia Kesting, Elisabeth Stiebritz, Janine Kittler
Graphic design: Leen Murad
Financed by the Axel Springer Foundation and the
Support Office of the HGB Leipzig.
Academy of Fine Arts, Leipzig 2019
“Artistic strategies of the digital and post-digital phase
– What new significance is attributed to the analogue image in contemporary photography?”
October 2017 – February 2018
Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig
Tuesdays 6 – 9 pm ,Wächterstraße 11, room 3.10
On 1 July 2009, building No. 23, formerly home to 35mm film production, was blown up in Rochester, NY, in the former Kodak Park. Now that analogue photography has been almost completely replaced by the development and successful distribution of the digital image, the demand for analogue recording equipment and film material is on the rise again.
What explanation could there be for this, and what need could underlie this observed trend?
In 2009, the artist, professor and author Hito Steyerl described the image circulating globally on the internet without originality and materiality as a poor image: “It is a ghost of an image, a preview, a thumbnail [...] compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed as well as copied and pasted [...]”. With the help of reflections on contemporary positions as well as a textual discussion, we want to trace together the current state of dealing with artistic photography and try to understand what could be behind the concern to make new use of analogue photography. In the darkroom and the colour lab, we want to put the quality of the analogue image in colour and black and white to the test. Based on this, an independent work can be developed, which may well be transferred into a digital form. The results of the work will be shown in a joint presentation at the Rundgang 2018 at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig.
“Thinking with the eye
– strategies for making inner visual worlds visible”
April – July 2017
Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig
Mondays: 6 – 9 pm, Wächterstraße 11, Room 3.10
Starting from the medium of photo books, we want to discover together how great, witty, funny, but perhaps also exhausting or even disturbing photography can be in an art context. Why does an artist's book or a photographic work fascinate me, whereas another work repels me?
The massive flood of images that surrounds us every day and the quick and easy consumption of digital photography poses great challenges for photography in the field of art, both as a recipient and as a producer. Photography can be expected to do more than just show the supposed reality or depict an aesthetically good photo.
We want to take a close look at the essence and concept of photography and enter into a photographic discourse together.
In working discussions on already existing projects or ideas, I would like to advance my own attitude together with you.
These can range from older works to completely new approaches that arise in a wide variety of contexts. The course is also aimed primarily at participants who are currently or will in the future be working on a portfolio to apply to an art academy.
In addition to an excursion to selected (photo) exhibitions, there will be a jointly conceived exhibition of the results of the work at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst at the end of the semester.
Polaroid Workshop Ren Hang
December 2017 / January 2018
Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig
Polaroid workshop on the occasion of the photo exhibition of the Chinese photographer Ren Hang
Guided by artist and photographer Sophia Kesting, the Polaroid workshop conveyed an idea of Ren Hang’s analogue working method. The workshop participants were inspired by Ren Hang's exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig. Equipped with Polaroid cameras, photography could again be directly bound to an image carrier and become an original.
“Learning from Athens?”
Art Students Conference, Cusanuswerk Schoolarship
Direction: Sophia Kesting, Thomas Reymann
Lecturer: Agnieszka Roguski
Documenta, considered the world’s most important exhibition of contemporary art, will take place at two venues in 2017: Documenta 14 by artistic director Adam Szymczyk opened in April in the Greek metropolis of Athens and then in June 2017 in the established art space of Kassel.
With the partial relocation of the venue to the Mediterranean metropolis of Athens, the framework conditions and the conceptual content of the art event may expand immensely. How can the official title “Learning from Athens / Von Athen lernen” be read against the backdrop of the financial and refugee crises currently facing Greece?
We would like to consciously question the title during our conference in Kassel and critically examine it from the point of view of our artistic practice. How is the relevance of art articulated with regard to a current global crisis? What contribution can Documenta make as a strong force in the co-formulation of the global art discourse and (how) can or should we as artists react to these current tendencies?
Supported by the official Documenta team and the invited lecturer Agnieszka Roguski, we discovered the curatorial concept together and took our own standpoint on it from within art.