»The Melancholy of Elephants«
Opening: Thursday, March 24, 2016, 19h (Facebook Event)
Introduction: Urszula Usakowska-Wolff (Art Critic and Journalist)
Music: Vanja Kirchhoff und die Letzte Band
Exhibition: March 25 – May 6, 2016
Film Screening: “Nix mit Schuhen”, Thursday, April 21, 19h
Finissage with live performance by Sebastian Bieniek: Friday, May 6, 19h
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 14-18h, Thu 10-20h
Sebastian Bieniek is a master of illusion and subversive humour. He is constantly questioning our ways of perception by defragmenting reality, alienating the known and showing it in a new surprising context. In the same way, the artist is playing with our perception, social conventions and gender roles in the photo series »Coupleations«, »Interventions«, »Undivided Divided« and »Bodyscapes«, all of which are shown for the first time in public at Fotogalerie Friedrichshain in Berlin.
Like no other, Sebsatian Bieniek dominates the art of communication: His fanbase on Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr counts half a million followers. Born 1974 in a village near Opole (Poland), the painter, performer, filmmaker and photographer moved to Lower Saxony in 1989. He went on to study Fine Arts at the Braunschweig University of Art and later at Universität der Künste in Berlin before finishing Film Studies at Deutschen Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin. His photo series »Doublefaced« brought him international fame.
The individual portrayed by Sebastian Bieniek is mostly hybrid. His protagonists are Janus-faced, staged in uncomfortable positions with strangely twisted limbs, putting a face or grimace on top of another. What is real, what is fictional? What is the mask and what is the face? These are just some of the questions that arise from looking at Sebastian Bienieks photographs. The ordinary seems extraordinary, the familiar and innocent seems eerie and menacing.
Sebastian Bieniek loves to confuse the audience. That is why he named its exhibition at Fotogalerie Friedrichshain – the first photo gallery of the former GDR – »The Sadness of Elephants«. What does the title have to do with the images shown? Nothing or indeed something? You can never be too sure with Bieniek. And this is precisely what makes his art so interesting.
Text by Urszula Usakowska-Wolff