Johanna Diehl focuses on places bearing deposits of collective and individual consciousness. She is interested in the extent to which an idea, ideology, or memory takes shape and becomes visible in the world of things—in forms and configurations, and in the traces that are left behind. For the exhibition series Presence, on show in the Felix-Nussbaum-Haus Osnabrück, the artist travelled to Saint-Cyprien in southern France—where, in 1940, Nussbaum was interned in a camp as an ”enemy alien“. Diehl forges a link between this site and Banyuls-sur-Mer, Walter Benjamin’s jumping-off point in his attempt to flee to Spain that same year. Both are places of imprisonment, escape, hope, and resistance. For Deaf Branches, Diehl studied the peripheral pictorial elements in Nussbaum’s paintings, penetrating deep into their narratives. Her photographs make the absent present and give temporary visibility to what cannot be seen.
Johanna Diehl, b. 1977 in Hamburg, lives and works in Berlin. She studied photography and fine arts with Professor Timm Rautert and Boris Mikhailov—and as a master student under Professor Tina Bara—at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig (HGB) and with Christian Boltanski and Jean-Marc Bustamante at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris. Since March 2019, she has been professor of photography in the Faculty of Visual Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Würzburg-Schweinfurt.
Raphael Sbrzesny, b. 1985, studied free art, sculpture, classical music, experimental music theatre and theory in Stuttgart, Munich, Bern, and Paris. Since 2018 he has been professor for rethinking interpretation in sound, performance, and conceptual artistic practice at the University of the Arts in Bremen. His most recent shows have been at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, and Haus am Waldsee in Berlin.