Andreas Rost & John Vink
Opening: Thursday, September 15, 2016, 18:30h (Facebook Event)
Exhibition: September 16 – October 16, 2016
Finissage & Photo projection: Sunday, October 16, 2016, 16h
Opening hours: Thu & Fri 16-18h, Sat 11.30-13.30h, and by appointment
Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected”
– Robert Frank.
Hope & despair or departure & resignation – these are the poles of John Vink & Andreas Rost’s exhibition. In a cruel world in which the sensation-seeking photographers fall into cutthroat competition about finding the most shocking & glaring image, both photographers refocus on the objectifying & documentary purposes of the black and white pictures. They search for the general human experience, the one which lies behind the sensation, replacing shock with empathy, making politically difficult subjects into understandable & transparent ones. To this day, the street reflects the structure of society. In the streets of Phnom Penh (John Vink) & those of Kabul (Andreas Rost), the photographers find connections in the trash and in the apparent contingencies. In a digital world of calculation, they assist the subjective experience in regaining emancipatory power.
Born on 7.4.1966 in Weimar
Grew up in Dresden.
From 1987 until 1993, studies at der Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig with Evelyn Richter & Arno Fischer as teachers.
Since 1993 active as a freelance photographer among other things for the Goethe institute and ifa institute of foreign relations.
Numerous exhibitions in Germany and abroad, as well as book publications.
Standing in the middle of a landscape of moon craters, I take notice of this question that is constantly circling my mind: ‘What am I actually doing here?’ The landscape reminds me of pictures I have seen of Dresden after the bombings in February 1945 – remains of buildings raising up the sky, among the rubble and dust. I am in Kabul now, and the war is over. Afghanistan is now considered to be a safe country of origin. There are people too in this apocalyptic landscape. At first glance, they somehow look absent, crouching on the ground and smoking hash. None of my steps goes unnoticed. I have the impression that someone must have announced my appearance here. I really sense, physically, that all eyes are on me. To them, I must be the man from the moon. I admire the people here. With their will to survive and their imagination, they manage to exist amidst this chaos. They are the only positive element I can report from Kabul. My being a stranger means ignorance, but it also protects me from being easily identifiable. My situation requires distance but, at the same time, I cannot refrain from reacting emotionally in front of all this misery. My sight is clear and dazzled at the same time, as documented in my photographs. Contrary to most foreigners who are now in Kabul, I managed, thanks to the participants in the workshop, to experience normal, everyday life on the streets. My photographs attempt to clarify what cannot be explained; something that can, at best, be described and, to me, amounts to the existential question: ‘What am I actually doing here?’
Berlin, June 2016
John Vink is Belgian.
He studied photography in la Cambre in Brussels in 1968.
In 1986 he received the Prize W. Eugene Smith.
He founded the magazine “Thèmes”, focused on documentary photography.
Since 1997 he is a member of the Magnum agency.
Exhibition ‘Hearths of Resistance’
‘Hearths of Resistance’ focuses on the social and political turmoil during the 18 months after the 2013 legislative elections in Cambodia. With the opposition CNRP gaining a surprising 55 of the 123 seats at the National Assembly, this was the first serious democratic challenge for Prime Minister Hun Sen in some 30 years. Surfing on this success and relying on a pool of disgruntled citizens who suffered land grabbings, on the 600,000 garment factory workers living on insufficient wages and more generally on normal citizens confronted with a daily dosis of corruption and injustice, the CNRP managed to mobilize the masses for 6 months. A violent crackdown by the army on January 3rd 2014 of striking workers forced the opposition into a strategy of compromise. The workers and the evicted communities had to rely on their own from then on. The very latest developments in Cambodia show a gradual lockdown of civil society and the disappearance of a political alternative.
‘Hearths of Resistance’ is also an ebook. With over 500 photographs and a video, an interactive map, a glossary available through the captions and quotes from protesters giving their definition of the word ‘resistance’, the ebook is an attempt to show the resilience of those who resist the erosion of their human rights.