Freitag, 30. August 2019

Petrov Ahner @ Minsk [OK16/KunsthausTacheles_2019]

[Bild: Petrov Ahner @ worx....]

On 7th of September 19:00h Petrov Ahner will do a lecture about his work as an artist and photographer. He was "the Eye of Tacheles" in the last battle against centrification. His pictures from Tacheles are legend today... Here some words about his artist-life ...

Petrov Ahner, born in 1965, worked as a fashion and portrait photographer in Paris for 15 years from 1994, after his assistantship in Munich and Miami. The political development in France since the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, the tightening of immigration laws and the personal involvement as a foreigner led Ahner to use photography as a means of political engagement. In „Out of the Dark“ in November 2009, he produced over 100 portraits of so-called «sans papiers». For 48 hours, Ahner set up a photo studio at the central square of the occupation of the «sans papiers,» a vacant administrative building in the 18th arrondissement, and invited the occupants to have their portraits taken.

The intention was to support the struggle for a legal right of residence and to give people who live in illegality and anonymity a chance to show their dignified faces. This political work removed Ahner from the fashion world. The feeling of now being a stranger in Paris, the separation from his long-time life and work partner lead Ahner to a radical break.

He decided to move from Paris to Berlin at the end of 2009. This spatial change was also associated with the need for a change in his photographic work. Berlin, with its reputation as an art center, the diversity of its living environments, and the diversity of its individual neighborhoods, seemed promising enough to want to live and work there.

The gentrification and sometimes rapid changes in Berlin’s reality were perceived as disillusioning. From the beginning of 2010 until its closure in September 2012, Ahner photographed everyday life and the struggle of the „Kunsthaus Tacheles“ and its artists against investors as an official photographer.

On the initiative of the Italian artist and then curator of Tacheles, Barbara Fragogna, Petrov Ahner organized his first exhibitions in Berlin. In 2011, he simultaneously began the long-term project „Berlin Beauty“. In it, Petrov Ahner looks for the face of his adopted home Berlin in self-portraits of its inhabitants, because people create a «look» and determine the rhythm of the capital. In addition to architecture, history, politics and landscape, they are their shaping and lively part. They are mirrors of the city, just as the city is its own.

Between 2010 and 2013, in cooperation with Whistleblower Netzwerk e.V., an association supporting the struggle of whistleblowers for better legal protection and higher social acceptance, launched the project „Whistleblower“ in Germany. At that time, the topic of whistleblowing was still almost unknown in Germany. The photo series realized by Ahner is still used today on the website of the association for documentation and public relations.

Since July 2017 Ahner has been working on the long-term project „What Remains – Portraits in the Hospice“, a photographic work with people who know that they will die in the near future. With the support of the Ricam Hospice in Berlin, patients are portrayed and interviewed.

Ahner shows the individual attempts to deal with dying and to create an everyday life in the last place of residence. The projects „Paris 26th floor“, „Warschauer Brücke“ or „Koinzidenzen“ are photographs from the photographer’s direct urban environment or, in It could be anywhere, the place of his youth in a small southern German town. The focus here is not on the documentary, but on his own perspectives, moods, and emotions. The everyday and seemingly banal is given something poetic, mysterious, and sometimes irritating.

If fear and malice are seen as reasonable, resistance becomes a civic duty.

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