REFUGEES IN A STATE APARTMENT
11 MARCH – 7 MAY 2016
“The metaphoric ambiguity of a house between being a refuge, a place to live, an intimate situation or even a cultural monument somehow seems apposite. In this house, arrival is both very close and far away. Seen from another perspective, the old things receive new meaning and our unaffected world loses its sense of protection.” (Jens Ullrich)
In his photomontages for “Refugees in A State Apartment” Jens Ullrich processes impressions which he gained around the LAGeSo in Moabit, the central admitting facility for refugees in Berlin. For several weeks he photographically documented the local situation and got into conversations with the waiting refugees . Some people on the resulting photos were montaged by Ullrich into historical black and white photographs of a Bremen merchant’s Villa, which was used after the bankruptcy of the owner as a convalescent home for mothers, an officers’ mess, a hospital, a refugee home and a clinic for drug addicts – currently it is for sale. Foreign upon arrival, the waiting refugees are existing within a kind of no man’s land. In his photomontages Ullrich imagines a new habitat: escaped people positioned in a tastefully furnished villa. For a fleeting moment they take place in magnificent interiors; a strange atmosphere arises, alternating between intimacy and uprootedness. The medium of the placard is breaking with the private space in the photographs and makes it public – as the previous exhibitions in the park of the ZKM in Karlsruhe and in front of the house of the Berliner Festspiele showed.
Jens Ullrich, born in 1968 in Tukuju / Tanzania, studied at the Düsseldorf Art Academy and lives in Berlin since 2008. His work has been shown in numerous exhibitions, among others at the Kunstverein Hannover, the Tate Modern (London), the Museum Sztuki (Lodz), the Glucksman Gallery (Cork) and the Museum Abteiberg (Mönchengladbach). For many years he has organised exhibitions with artist friends in private showrooms. Jens Ullrich’s work frequently begins with found images, which are then assembled into new motifs. For several years now he works with photomontages, which always question the human existence. Refugees In A State Apartment is his fourth solo-exhibition at VAN HORN.