Current

In the early 1970s, Californian photographer John Divola was one of the first to question the limits of his medium, exploring concepts of sculpture, installation, performance and intervention in his iconic, formative series “Vandalism” (1973-1975). Robert Morat Gallery is thrilled to be able to show this important body of work in Berlin.

Between 1973 and 1975, the American photographer John Divola – then in his mid twenties and without a studio of his own – travelled across Los Angeles in search of dilapidated properties in which to make photographs. Armed with a camera, spray paint, string and cardboard, the artist would produce one of his most significant photographic projects entitled Vandalism. In this visceral, black and white series of images Divola vandalized vacant homes with abstract constellations of graffiti-like marks, ritualistic configurations of string hooked to pins, and torn arrangements of card, before cataloguing the results. The project vigorously merged the documentary approach with staged interventions echoing performance, sculpture and installation art. Serving as a conceptual sabotaging of the delineations between such documentary and artistic practices, at a time when the ‘truthfulness’ of photography was being called into question, Vandalism helped to establish Divola’s highly distinctive photographic language.

John Divola (American, b. 1949), one of the most distinguished visual artists of his generation, earned a BA from California State University, Northridge (1971) and an MA from University of California, Los Angeles (1973). His images challenge the boundaries between fiction and reality, as well as the limitations of art to describe life. “Vandalism” (1973-1975) is one of Divola’s earliest series, predating “Zuma” (1977), “As Far as I Could Get” (1997) and “Dogs Chasing My Car in the Desert” (2004). His work exhibited internationally and found in important public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Getty Museum in LA, the V&A in London or the Whitney Museum in New York.

“Vandalism”, the book accompanying the exhibition was published by MACK Books, London in 2018.

Upcoming

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 20018 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.

Robert Voit The Alphabet of New Plants

Archive Berlin 2016 - 2010

Orri Interiors
jedentag Fotografische Alltagsbeobachtungen von Andy Sewell, Peter Puklus und Peter de Ru
SCHWARZWEISS Zeitgenössische Positionen in der Schwarz-Weiß-Fotografie
2007
Okko Oinonen On Top of The Iceberg. Intellectual Exiles
fotoform Deutsche Fotografie der 50er Jahre
Enver Hirsch Menschen Tiere Sensationen
2006
Andy Scholz Fotografie 2002-2006
Wolf Böwig Fotoarbeiten 1995-2005
2004
Michael Melcer Milch and Hering Jewish Food Shops in New York

Archive Hamburg 2016 - 2004

Past