Christian Hagemann works as a still life photographer in Berlin. His images reveal a playful oscillation between staged and found objects. Hagemann is interested in the world of things, especially as a surface of projection. With his strong visual language, he emphasizes the “past life” of these items with their owners and invites the imagination to wander. The result is a highly aesthetic, ambiguous body of work with exceptional depth.*1976, lives and works in Berlin
- *1976, lives and works in Berlin
- Degrees: 2004 Diploma in Photography from the Folkwang University in Essen, 2007
- Master in Fine Arts from the Royal College of Art in London
- Awards: Selected for Voices Off Awards, Arles, France, 2011; Flash Forward Award UK, Magenta Foundation, Great Britain, 2009;Selected for PEEK 2007 Art and Commerce, New York, 2007
- Publications: The Still Life, Gestalten Publishers, Berlin, Germany, 2015; Vision Magazine, China, June 2012; Returning to Berlin, Symposium+Show, Motto Bookstore
“Domestic scapes”(Group), Galerie Reckermann, Köln, 2008
“Left to my own devices” (Solo), Galerie Bernhard Knaus, Frankfurt 2008
“Teaching Photography Europe” (Group), Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany 2010
“The Skinned City” (Group), Yinka Shonibare Studio, London/Hackney 2010
“Returning to Berlin”, Motto Bookstore, Berlin 2013
“I like to create irritation or ambivalent interpretations.“
Your photographs seem to be perfectly staged. How do you begin the process of taking a photo?
I’ve always had two positions when I take my photographs: I build the set, I’m in front of the camera, but also behind it to establish the angle. And I want to include the random elements – that which comes along spontaneously and unpredictably when shooting.
Your series “Anti Shake” shows images in space – which look very elegant, but somehow also raw. Where does this tension come from?
In the “Anti Shake” series I show many individual galaxies, nebulae, clusters or the crumpled photographic prints of them, which I photographed again with a hard flash. That might explain the tension. The wrinkles on the photo paper reflect the light of the flash, because of this light spots appear that are barely distinguishable from the shining stars that were photographed.
I like to stretch the notions of space and time, but I also like to stretch time and space, through photography to present something absent or from the past to the eyes of the viewer.
Let’s talk about your work, Unswept Floor. The title sounds like an allusion, where does it come from?
This is one of my favorites, it’s part of the “Afterhours” series. I thought of a Roman mosaic with the same name in an old villa. It shows how their floor would look after a party.
For me, it’s also about remains and remnants, an oscillation of found objects and staging. What is actually pictured is a mundane reality – displayed in an elevated form (through, for example, the colors) and playfully broken when something like the die is discovered. I really like creating these kinds of irritations or ambivalent interpretation.
What makes art good?
Many of my heroes are from the 1920s, they nimbly broke barriers – like Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. I also like their sense of humor, that they didn’t take their work too seriously.Anyone who makes good art has a growing interest or a certain approach. When an artist can achieve the effect of realigning the viewer’s patterns of perception, their customary gaze, that’s pretty exciting – that’s what makes art. And then as a viewer you try to understand it from a new perspective.