Nanna Heitmann „Weg vom Fenster“ + Heinrich Völkel "Nachtstücken"

09.07.2024 — 13.07.2024

Nanna Heitmann „Weg vom Fenster“ + Heinrich Völkel 
Foto: Nanna Heitmann

Exhibition with works by two winners of the Vonovia Award for Photography on the subject of Home. Photographer Nanna Heitmann explores the closure of the last coal mine in Germany with her series Weg vom Fenster and Heinrich Völkel traces the living environment in a Berlin industrial and working-class neighbourhood with Nachstücken.

No other industry has such a myth attached to it: Coal mining in the Ruhr region made the industrial revolution in Germany possible and contributed significantly to the German economic miracle and the development of today's key industries after the Second World War. However, it was not only the source of German economic power, but also characterised an entire region and gave the people of the Ruhr its own culture and identity. While the miners are closely connected to their work underground, they create their own little happiness above ground, with swimming pools in workers' housing estates, well-tended allotments or a small pigeon farm under the roof. When Prosper Haniel, the last colliery, closes in 2018, 2,500 miners lose their jobs. Photographer Nanna Heitmann photographed the miners' last working days above and below ground. While the younger ones look for a new job, the older ones go into early retirement with broken knees, slipped discs or pneumoconiosis. Nevertheless, they are still upholding their traditions and customs as well as the very special identity of this region. Because once they are gone, some of this camaraderie and warmth will be missing.

Nanna Heitmann was born in Ulm, currently lives and works in Russia and follows the Yenisei in Siberia photographically to illustrate the prevailing living environments of nature and people there. She has been a member of Magnum Photos since 2023.
Further information at: Nanna Heitmann - Photography

The Berlin district of Wedding has successfully defended its reputation as a working-class and immigrant neighbourhood to this day. Leni Riefenstahl, Erich Mielke and Hardy Krüger were born here. This neighbourhood was also home to Berlin photographer Heinrich Völker for a long time. After years in the diaspora, he returned to rediscover his Wedding. His most important tool is an analogue large-format camera, which is technically accurate and precise enough to recognise even hidden details. While during the day one encounters hectic people, cars, buses and delivery vans, at night these places radiate moments of tranquillity. The long exposures in strict black and white then reveal the architectural reality of the neighbourhood: an architecture of living and working, Art Nouveau alongside post-war modernism, ensemble alongside solitary buildings, a lot of history and also a little bit of the future.

Heinrich Völkel,  born in Moscow in 1974 and raised in Leipzig, briefly studied architecture at the Leipzig University of Applied Sciences before turning to his photographic training at the Lette-Verein in Berlin. He has been a member of Ostkreuz-Agentur der Fotografen since 2005. In addition to his work for Die Zeit, Stern and Der Spiegel, his photographic interests centre on the phenomenon of the city and the changes it undergoes. Heinrich Völkel | Chromfeld


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