For several years now, I have been closely following the artistic work of the Berlin-based photo artist Jens Komossa. In his photography, two basic attitudes meet: on the one hand, that of the analog photographer who knows how to explore the limits of the medium to all depths in hour-long night shots, creating images with a painterly feel. On the other side is the free-spirited, thoughtful, but also poetic artist, who deals with the subject of space in installations and additionally opens up further levels of meaning by means of poetic texts.
On the first level, space is indeed the central theme of Jens Komossa, but more precisely, on a deeper level of meaning, man is the actual subject. Even though people themselves are never directly depicted in Komossa’s work, he nevertheless makes them tangible as a subject hidden in space by making visible the manifold traces in spaces shaped by people. Komossa’s photographic technique is in some ways documentary, while the gesture of his hour-long exposures produces a permanently overlapping light that creates a painterly duct.
In his current work, DARK, Komossa deals specifically with spaces of fascism. His work here is thoroughly political, without being ideologically agitative. Language comes in as an important stylistic device. Komossa has spent several years photographing night scenes of seemingly everyday situations in panoramic format throughout Europe . He juxtaposes these nocturnal spaces with his own texts, which freeze the beauty of his images. The everyday present is thus unmasked as a living witness to past traces and offshoots of fascism.
Komossa himself speaks of “the sleeping giant of fascism in our midst.” Not much is missing and the giant will soon be up to mischief again.
Jens Komossa subtly puts his finger into a fermenting wound of our time with DARK, a moving and stirring intermedial photographic work.
I am pleased to write about the project DARK from Jens Komossa. As in the best case of an artist, one can say that Jens Komossa’s art is entirely an expression of the artist’s personality itself. Jens Komossa has become known for his analogue long exposures of rooms. Rooms are always only the occasion. His idiosyncratically colored night photographs of rooms, always grouped in series, series that are often followed in parallel over years, deal with the traces that the actions of their actors preserve.
His photographs of spaces show man as an individual, as part of our media landscape, or, as in his current series DARK, as a political being – there as victim as well as perpetrator.
Man leaves behind a space shaped by his deeds. In his work, Komossa deciphers the stage shaped by the actor and lays it bare to us. Anyone who gets to know Jens Komossa quickly realizes that he is also a man of language. It is only logical that his current work, DARK, links texts written by the artist himself with his own night photographs. The fragile beauty of his images is unmasked by the brutal content of the texts, transforming his work into a political tool. One can sense that behind these works, which are documentary poetry in the best sense of the word, there has been intense research and personal examination of the subject of fascism.