Jessica Backhaus

11-15 October 2021

About the workshop

Forgotten objects, peeling wallpaper in an old house, sunlight filtering through the branches of a tree, old telephone books blowing in the wind, a paperweight that is bathing in the sunlight and the details of an intimacy that only an eye well-trained in ‘knowing how to look’ can transform into images. In the past years Jessica Backhaus has continually captivated viewers with the ingenious inventions she displays in her artistic, narrative photographs, presented both as individual images and as series. A distinctive feature of her work to date has been a fascinating interplay between the depiction of reality and enigmatic abstraction. Form, light and color describe in an incisive and totally natural manner the visual story of Jessica Backhaus, and it is through these elements that the 5 days of work with the prolific German artist will lead the students to re-consider the potential that lies in simple things. Backhaus’s work is the result of a perfect balance between poetic inspiration and great precision. Controlling an image, producing a photography book, the meticulous care in preparing an exhibition and developing a small project are all aspects that will be covered during the workshop. One part of the workshop will also be dedicated to a presentation of her own inspirations that are vivid and vital in her artist life. The group will ensure a lively exchange with the teacher.

About the artist

Jessica Backhaus was born in Cuxhaven, Germany in 1970 and grew up in an artistic family. At the age of sixteen, she moved to Paris, where she later studied from 1989-1992 Photography and Visual Communications. Here she met Gisèle Freund in 1992, who became her mentor. In 1995 her passion for photography drew her to New York, where she assisted photographers, pursued her own projects and lived until 2009. Jessica Backhaus is regarded as one of the most distinguished voices in contemporary photography in Germany today. Her work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including the National Portrait Gallery, London, the Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, MARTa Herford, Herford and the Kunsthalle Erfurt, Erfurt. Her photographs are in many prominent art collections including the Taunus Sparkasse, Germany, Art Collection Deutsche Börse, Germany, ING Art Collection, Belgium, Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA and the Margulies Collection, Miami, USA. To date, she has nine publications to her name; Jesus and the Cherries, 2005, What Still Remains, 2008, One Day in November, 2008, I Wanted to See the World, 2010, Once, still and forever, 2012, Six degrees of freedom, 2015, A TRILOGY, 2017, Far away but close, 2019 and Cut Outs, 2021. All books are published by Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg except Far away but close that was published by Another Place Press, Scotland. Her work is also featured in the book: Women Photographers by Boris Friedewald (Prestel Verlag 2014/2018) and Kunst? Ja, Kunst! Die Sehnsucht der Bilder von Jean-Christophe Ammann (Westend Verlag, 2014). Jessica Backhaus is represented by Robert Morat Galerie in Berlin, Galerie Anja Knoess in Cologne, Petra Becker/ International Art Bridge in Meggen, Bridgette Mayer Gallery in Philadelphia, Robert Klein Gallery in Boston, MiCamera in Milan, Wouter van Leeuwen Gallery in Amsterdam and Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporanea in Lisbon. Since 2009 Jessica Backhaus lives and works again in Berlin. In 2012 FOAM Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam produced a short documentary Wonder Jessica Backhaus, a film by Willem Aerts.

Workshop gallery

During the workshop, all necessary health security measures issued at the time were taken and participants presented the virus-free certificate.

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