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b. 1962, Germany

Jörg Sasse Biography

Born 1962 in Bad Salzuflen, Germany, lives and works in Branitz, Brandenburg, Germany

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Jörg Sasse studied photography at the Kunstakademie (Academy of Art) in Düsseldorf from 1982 to 1987, where he was in Bernd Becher’s master class. After graduating, he taught at the Academy until 1989. He was a guest professor at several art schools from 2003 to 2007, before he became a professor of documentary photography at the University of Duisburg-Essen (now called Folkwang Universität der Künste (University of the Arts), Essen). He was also a guest professor at the Institut für Bildende Kunst und Kunstwissenschaften (Institute for Visual Art and Art Theory) at the University of Hildesheim from 2010 to 2011.

Jörg Sasse’s photographic works from the 1980s initially focused on everyday culture, interior design, architectural details, and elements of window displays, some of which he transformed into abstract compositions of an iconic quality. While he had photographed these Stilleben (Still Lifes) himself, in the 1990s, he began to concentrate more on the digital manipulation of amateur photographs. He found these in photo albums at flea markets, possessions left behind by the deceased, and bins of discarded pictures in photo labs. These small digitalized Skizzen (Sketches) serve as a basis for his large tableaus, which he partially defamiliarizes by creating a change in perspective and erasing or adding certain details. These painterly components create a sense of uncertainty as well as a surrealist impression. In addition to these Tableaus, he also began making the series Lost Memories in 2009, followed by Cotton Paintings which is ongoing since 2014.

Jörg Sasse organizes his works according to more than 50 categories, including “reproductions,” “abstract,” “movement,” “free time,” “ideal world,” “hidden,” and “interstices.” The works are also assigned titles consisting of four-digit numbers that are randomly generated and do not refer the content of the works in any way. In 2008, Sasse decided to thematize this system in his artworks Speicher I – V, which he exhibits in the form of three-dimensional objects. Each Speicher (storage unit) is a kind of relational database that contains 512 amateur photographs. Each of these is a unique print that measures 22 x 30 cm and can he hung on the wall in many different combinations, according to the category.

“Jörg Sasse, who sees himself as a fine artist using the medium of photography for his work, poses the question of the relationship between photography and reality, the construction of memory, and the changeability of reality as seen through photography. All digitally undertaken alterations, therefore, should not be seen as manipulation of the original image; instead, they represent a further development of the original photo into a new, independent image in regard to its colours, forms and correspondences.” (Harriet Zilch)

Selected solo exhibitions: Kunsthalle Gießen, Germany (2015); Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany (2015); House of Arts, České Budějovice, Czech Republic (2015); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt/Main, Germany (2012); Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany (2007); Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany (2005); Musée de Grenoble, France (2004); Portikus, Frankfurt/Main, Germany (1998); Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland (1997); Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France (1997)

His works can be found in numerous museum collections, including the Belvedere, Vienna, Austria; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Salomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, New York; Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany; Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz; MUMOK, Vienna, Austria; Musée de Grenoble, France; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany; and Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany.

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