Work Focus | Sven Johne „What you say to yourself matters“, 2020
For many years now, the multifaceted field of documentary photography and its interlinkage with texts, information, stories, and history has taken center stage in Sven Johne’s photographic practice. In his works—often based on research on site—he systematically deals with the relationship between what can be experienced and known and what can be shown and communicated about it. In the process, it becomes clear time and again that documentary images are not exclusively an element of the visible but that a fundamental dependence on words and knowledge is inscribed in them—that a shift in the status of the images, uncertainty with regard to their possibilities of producing meaning is the result.
Johne’s recent works pinpoint this precarious, controversial, and increasingly questioned space of “documentality” (Hito Steyerl) of the visual in the world of today. In this respect, the exhibition project focuses on the specific practices and methods in which Sven Johne involves the photographic image in different projects in different places: the claim for reportage, the interest in marginal events, the missing of representation, the gap between text and image—whereby the artist outlines an essential contribution to the current debate circling around the documentary.
Sven Johne (b. 1976, Rügen, DE), his work has recently been shown at a.o.: Bon Voyage! Reisen in der Kunst der Gegenwart, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, DE (2019), Sing Hallelujah!, KLEMM’S, Berlin, DE (2019), Noorderlicht International Photography Festival : TAXED TO THE MAX, Groningen, NL (2019) (cat.), „Field of Codes“, PiK, Köln, DE (2018, „Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie – Farewell Photography“, Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, Heidelberg, DE (2017), „Naturgeschichten / Natural Histories“, mumok, Vienna, AT (2017), „Sven Johne: Window of the World“, Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, JP (2016) (solo), „Reset. Outskirts / Randlagen“, Pinakothek der Moderne, München, DE (2016), „History is a Warm Gun“, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (NBK), Berlin, DE (2015), „Jeden Morgen ein Lächeln’ – Anomalien des frühen 21. Jahrhunderts / Einige Fallbeispiele“, Arbeiterkammer, Wien, AT (2015) (solo), „Welcome to the Jungle“, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, DE (2015).