Marcus Schaefer (Germany 1987) (Images 1-4)
Marcus Schaefer is certainly an artist in the true sense of the word. He cannot be captured under one heading e.g. « photographer » because then you ignore his creative primal power. He is a multi-disciplinary artist and film director driven to capture his state of mind of that moment…
Schaefer escapes from a world predominantly ruled by colour images, and expresses himself through the visual aesthetics of black and white photography. Exploring intimacy, sensitivity, and abstraction, his images challenge the false preconception that black and white photography is outdated and less expressive. The photographer puts the colour black at the heart of his work, using it as a central component to his visual messaging.
Black, as the absence of colour and absorption of light, the signifier of evil, death, and fear, is newly interpreted in creative ways. Schaefer overturns the binary of black and white to create a sophisticated system of new meanings throughout the images – black acquires vulnerability and softness, becoming the site of a new entanglement of representation. The series of mostly black and white compositions feel vulnerable, otherworldly and create a vision of seductive allure. Schaefer is not interested in technical perfection; he is intrigued instead by spontaneity and imprecision. The element of mistake is fundamental in all his creative endeavours.”
“Beyond photography, Schaefer is also a drawer and uses his holistic understanding of art to inform his photographic choices and evocative storytelling. Charcoal drawing is an experimental practice and vessel for his imagination.”
Sara Punt (Dutch, 1994) (Images 5-10)
Sara Punt strongly believes that creativity lives in the spaces between your thoughts. Her work, characterised by strong black and white contrasts and bodies that take on abstract shapes, are the product of a personal research. A search that she carries out together with her models. The past two years Punt has focussed on how people look at themselves and at others. The current social norm is to always be sexually attractive. As a result, bodies are often overly sexualised. Punt opposes this norm.
Abstraction is an important part of the goal Punt wants to achieve with her work: acceptance of the body. Every person goes through something traumatic in their life, that affects the way they look at their own body or that of others. This can be the result of bullying, (sexual) abuse, injuries, upbringing, social media, or any other experience. Because Punt depicts the body in the way she does, turning it into an independent shape or work of art, she creates a certain distance between person and body. This process contributes to disconnecting the body from the ideas that have been projected onto it. By doing so, the body can be accepted and turned into the artwork it is.
Rolf van Rooij (Dutch 2003) (Images 11-13)
With Sara Punt does Rolf van Rooij represents the young talent of the Kahmann Gallery. His first exposition at the gallery was at the age of 18, and then his work already had a sense of maturity. A year later, he still manages to surprise the viewer. He gives himself room to experiment and explore the possibilities of the medium. Promising for sure, as long as he stays true to the challenging, the innovative and does not get bogged down in preconceived preconceptions. But I can assure you it seems there is no danger of that at least for now van Rooij started his photographic practice creating photographs while exploring urban environments. In these photographs, he often includes people in a rather abstract form. This gives the otherwise graphic representation of e.g. architecture something humane and gracious. This can sometimes result in a detached feeling for the viewer. Every work consists of elements that can be looked at separately but always work together.
Recently he started making abstract impressions. The creative process behind these works is both a critical examination of photography as a medium and a search for what he calls an honest artwork.
Photography is most often seen as a figurative medium. But, what happens when you take away all these figurative elements of a photograph? What happens when a photograph becomes abstract? His Photographic Abstraction relies on its own internal logic that consists of a dynamic between black and white, structure, flow, form and texture. Instead of representing visual aspects of our reality, he aims to convey his own interpretation of reality through abstraction; therewith representing something beyond the physical.
Sam Warnaar (Dutch, 2000) (Images 14-17)
Sam Warnaar presents two series of images, the first is a series of images created in isolation from the outside world, in a dialogue of herself with her camera. The results are introspective self-portraits in which she seeks insight by shielding herself from the outside world. Involuntarily, parallels with e.g. Francesca Woodman come to mind, but the funny thing is that the young Warnaar is actually unfamiliar with this work. The second series are more fashionable / contemporary studies of the female body – her work holds a promise – so to my feeling a photographer to watch out for.
Warnaar describes herself as an autonomous Dutch photographer. She captures her fascination for the female body, combined with her love for abstraction, composition and minimalism. Sam shows the power of vulnerability and believes that when you are vulnerable, the inner strength can grow. She believes in the power of creating together: model and photographer and is inspired by her models who expose themselves to her.
Olga Wagemans (Dutch, 1983) (Images 18-20)
What remains beyond “Observing people has been the focus of my attention throughout my life. Initially, it helped me to survive, later it developed into a fascination for what makes people tick. I take great interest in what is hidden behind the mask of the individual. We live in times of polarization of society and individualization. I feel called to challenge and question the identity we ascribe to ourselves and others. This identity determines to a great extent how we relate to others and the world around us. For this project, I used a heat camera with the aim to “de-picture” the outer identity and to explore if there is a core that remains and unites all people. In applying this technique, outer attributes such as age, gender or colour of skin often disappear”- with personal identity falling away, a universal phenomenon emerges.
Asha Swillens (Dutch, 1994) (Images 21-24)
Asha Swillens joins the Kahmann Gallery LAB. Asha is a photographer and digital artist/image maker. Her work is to a large extent influenced by her fashion study in The Hague and Antwerp, enabling her to develop her own artistic signature. She mainly used mixed media and designed garments by making fashion-collages. Since 2020 her focus is on photography rather than fashion. Photography allowed her to push the boundaries of her former way of constructing ideas based on the shapes of garments and lead her to focus on the aesthetics of an image instead.
Swillens’ extensive research of 17th-century paintings sparked a fascination with their use of lights and shadows alongside the combination of mostly black and white clothing on a dark background. Those paintings combine a heavy contrast with ‘ton-sur-ton’ tones to use these influences a specific feel. Work that feels like seeing a memory from a long time ago, whilst being modern and new – elements and atmosphere she adopted herself. Consequently, Swillens’ work questions the border of reality and fiction as all her images are a digital collage – a non-existing composition of real elements.
Krollmann & Kahmann in Berlin –
10717 Berlin, Germany
The 4 and 5 March the Gallery will be open from 12:00 to 19:00. The official opening is on Saturday at 16:00 by Roy Kahmann, collector and founder of the Kahmann Gallery Amsterdam and Rotterdam.