Verena Mörath & Oliver S. Scholten
On Memory Culture and the Meaning of Photographic Images
Verena Mörath was born in Mexico, grew up in Brazil and lives and works in Berlin as a freelance journalist, photographer and anthropologist. In 1989, as part of an ethnological field research project on the topic of family and lineage, she lived for several months in Northwest Ghana among the Dagara, where she was ‘adopted’ by her host father, the Kuuyuour Zinige, and was given the name Nmingmale (translated: God’s work).
After 30 years, the “adopted daughter” travels back to the region and visits the homestead where she once researched, journaled, photographed, and interviewed; she brings back her 1989 research findings in the form of a biography of the extended Kuuyuour family. The joy is great, memories are awakened.
In December 2021, Verena Mörath flies to Ghana again: her adoptive mother Pigr has died, and she wants to say goodbye to her at the funeral ceremony, which lasts three days. During this time she conducts more biographical interviews and new images, texts and videos are created.
The photographs, text passages as well as video sound recordings presented in this exhibition, which Verena Mörath has already partly processed in a blog as the project ROOTS continue the story of the extended family, explore changes and continuities of the last three decades in village everyday life and living together. This exhibition shows an exciting and very personal work about Verenas experiences in Ghana and should also appeal to potential project supporters. The goal is to realize another text-picture-volume. ROOTS was supported by a grant from the Neustarthilfe Kultur of the Verwertungsgesellschaft Wort (VG WORT) and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).
Oliver S. Scholten was born in Berlin and lives and works in Berlin and Brandenburg as a freelance artist, photographer and lecturer for art and documentary photography – now for more than thirty years. Further fields of activity were and are the organization of exhibition and photo projects, artistic supervision of photography classes as well as jurying of competitions and exhibition management follow. In the photographic works, the spectrum of Oliver S. Scholten’s works ranges from classic documentary photography in black and white to staging, three-dimensional objects and installations. What his diverse, multi-layered works have in common is that they play with both the use and the perception of photography and visual stimuli in the private and social environment, exaggerate them or simply create awareness for the medium of photography. Oliver S. Scholten met Verena Mörath through his teaching in one of his photography classes in 1993. Until the turn of the millennium, the two were frequently on the move together in the burgeoning free and alternative art and culture scene in Berlin. Through their experiences, a professional and constructive dialogue and a friendly bond developed.
The joint exhibition REMEMBER is about memory(s) and the role of photography. What place does photography have in this? Memories form the interface between the two artists.
Whereas in Verena Mörath’s work photography is more classically documentary and is supplemented by texts and videos, Oliver S. Scholten’s work WALL/Fragments takes an experimental approach to the medium: Shredded fragments of photographs are reassembled as if in an archaeological process, resulting in an explanatory, sometimes also disturbing image of what (probably) has been. Scholten’s second work les fleurs de la memoire is about the fading and retrieval of memory images in one’s own memory. Here, the garden serves as a symbol and place of longing for a memory that is both ordered and embellished. Like Questionment, this series by Oliver S. Scholten has been lying dormant for some time, but has only been shown once (then published in the book Wall, which was nominated for the German Photo Book Prize in 2011). Here, too, a further publication is planned.
Oliver S. Scholten’s work coincides with Verena Mörath’s time in Africa. The photographs were created almost in parallel. So what could be more obvious than to bring them together in an exhibition and present them to a broad public. An unusual interplay.
Lee Revos, August 2022
Sep 3 — 30, 2022
Opening Reception: Friday, Sep 2, 7 – 10 pm
Finissage: Friday, Sep 30, 5 – 9 pm
Greifswalder Str. 34/36 · 10405 Berlin
[District: Prenzlauer Berg | Borough: Pankow]
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