Are You Happy?
Phtographs by Göran Gnaudschun

6 September – 26 October 2019, Opening: 5 September, 6-9 p.m.
Introduction: Bodo-Michael Baumunk (around 7 p.m.)

Artist talk with Brigitte Werneburg on 10 October at 7.30 p.m.

“Are You Happy?” is the title of a new photo series by Göran Gnaudschun that is being presented in Galerie Poll for the first time with almost all of the motifs. Göran Gnaudschun began this work in 2017 while on scholarship at the Villa Massimo; Rome, and completed the photography in 2019.

“Are You Happy?” is set in the eastern periphery of Rome, in residential quarters, industrial zones and wasteland in the area around Via Prenestina – one of the old Roman roads that connected the area with the capital in the ancient Roman Empire.

From 1890 on new buildings were constantly being built in the eastern quarters of the city to take in the people who were seeking their fortunes in Rome. While at that time people came primarily from Venice or Sicily, they are now very often Bangladeshi, Africans or Roma people from southeastern Europe. Young, trendy quarters flow over into housing areas for employees and workers, but also for people whereby nobody knows what they are living on. The further the east, the worse the conditions are. High-rise complexes, investment ruins, problem districts. The ancient city wall separates the periphery from postcard Rome.

With his new photo series Göran Gnaudschun raises the question of living space and time of life. The photographer never proposed the simple question: “Are you happy?” to the people he photographed in their own surroundings. Instead he photographed houses and residential blocks, streets and wasteland in Centocelle, Pigneto, Prenestino, Quarticciolo and other Roman suburbs; in addition he drew the urban outlines of the quarter from a bird’s eye perspective. This combination creates a multi-layered, atmospheric work that gives the viewer an impression of life in the outskirts of Rome.

Gnaudschun is concerned in his photos with the question of existence: “Often an unforeseen closeness comes about between me and the subject in the portrait. For a moment something is there that gets along without language. It’s about who we are. In the openness of the person opposite me I sense the other’s existence, if only for brief moments. These are precious, like luck that one cannot rely on.”

Born in Potsdam in 1971, Göran Gnaudschun studied artistic photography (diploma) and visual art (master student) with Prof. Timm Rautert in Leipzig from 1994 to 2003 at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig (HGB). He received numerous scholarships and awards for his works including the working scholarship of the Kunstfonds Bonn in 2013 and the Brandenburg Art Prize in 2018. In 2016–2017 he had the scholarship of the German Academy Villa Massimo in Rome. Since 2018 Gnaudschun teaches at the Ostkreuz School of Photography in Berlin. He attracted considerable attention in 2014 with his book “Alexanderplatz”, a work on young people who have dropped out of society, about which the Neue Zürcher Zeitung wrote: “It has been a long time since a photographer has treated a subject in such a differentiated way.” His photos have been shown in numerous individual and group exhibitions in institutions and museums in Berlin, Hannover, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Riga, Rome and San Francisco and can be found in various public collections, including the Art Collection Deutsche Börse, Frankfurt am Main, the Berlinische Galerie – Museum für Moderne Kunst, Berlin, and the Folkwang Museum Essen. Göran Gnaudschun lives and works in Potsdam.

The book of the same name will be publish in October while the exhibition is still running.

Göran Gnaudschun: Are You Happy?

with texts by Yvonne Dohna Schlobitten and Marie-Amélie zu Salm-Salm, Emilia Giorgi and Göran Gnaudschun (Ger./Engl./Ital.), ca. 128 pages and 87 illustrations, DISTANZ Verlag, Berlin 2019, hardcover and clothbound, thread stitching, 27 x 20 cm, price: 39 euros

Special edition with an original print in format 27 x 20 cm or 20 x 27 cm

(choice of 4 motifs). Limited edition: 60 copies, signed and numbered, price: 195 euros