Lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Tell us about yourself, how did you become an artist?
The interest in artistic photography came up during the last years of my school education. After school and the time in civil service i applied for several art schools and started my artistic education with a very technique oriented school, learning analogue and digital photographic practices from the start. This helped me in the beginning to make a living working in a more commercial area of photography, but i realized very quickly, that this was not what i intended to do. I decided to start studying fine arts in an academic art school in Hamburg in the photography class of Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin which helped me enhance and develop my artistic practice and thinking.
From the series "Setup with scanner and mirror", 2020. 20cm x 30cm, c-type print, acrylic glass.
What is your background? and how did it inform the focus of your creative exploration or the medium you're currently working with?
During the time when i realized how hard it is to make a living with photography or art without compromising your intentions, i decided to follow another interest of me, the natural sciences. I started studying engineering sciences at an university including maths, physics, chemistry. Even though i didn't finish it with a degree, it influenced my practice afterwards, when i attended art school and it still does.
From the series "Silver Gelatin", 2021. 28cm x 35cm, fibre based and unprocessed photographic paper, silver dust, gelatin, aluminium frame.
What ideas interested you in the beginning?
I am interested in philosophical aspects of photography. It is a medium which always was technical. It needs and it depends on specific devices and processes which evolve constantly. But even further it is connected to our thinking and understanding of reality and truth more than other mediums. Originally i started with a more documentary practice which still fascinates and influences me. But i started some years ago to focus my attention on the processes itself and the errors and misunderstandings this may reveal. All the processes may it be a silver gelatin print or a machine learning algorithm mirror the biases of the developers. Often it is very hard to realize this. In my recent works i used photographic processes in a playful way or hacked it to create pieces which hopefully invite for aesthetical experiences and a thinking about photography in general.
From the series "Mirrors", 2021,90cm x 90cm, c-type print, alu dibond, aluminium frame.
Who were and are the biggest sources of your inspiration?
The work and trajectory of Taryn Simon fascinates me. The connection of a documentary thinking while reflecting the capabilities of the medium is a huge influence for me. Also writings of Hito Steyerl and Vilem Flusser helped me understand the philosophical aspects of the technical background of photography.
Analogue c prints, 100cm x 125cm. Installation view at Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin, Feb 2020.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in the dark room of a foto lab or working with physical materials in my studio but only through reflecting it afterwards. It always goes together. Often i just start playing with materials or software until i find a certain aspect of it on which i focus on.
Is there are a single work, project, or series that is pivotal in your current trajectory?
The Work "Baltic Amber" led to a series of experimental works which highlight and reflect certain abilities of materials which may contain specific associations or knowledge, which i like to twist through a process.
For this work baltic amber was projected onto light-sensitive photographic paper using the analogical foto lab and it’s physico-chemical process. The inversion of the colours, which normally turns the negative into a positive, turns the natural object into an abstracted image. Baltic Amber consists of orange coloured and hardened resin, often containing insects and plant remains from a long time ago. While the ability to store information in a translucent medium is reminiscent of the photographic negative, this work draws a connection from a natural phenomenon to a human made process, which normally is intended to capture a moment of time, creating images which show reality. The outcome in this case is an abstracted and artificial version of it.
Analogue c prints, 100cm x 125cm.
Baltic amber was projected onto light-sensitive photographic paper using the analogical foto lab and it’s physico-chemical process. The inversion of the colours, which normally turns the negative into a positive, turns the natural object into an abstracted image. Baltic Amber consists of orange coloured and hardened resin, often containing insects and plant remains from a long time ago. While the ability to store information in a translucent medium is reminiscent of the photographic negative, this work draws a connection from a natural phenomenon to a human made process, which normally is intended to capture a moment of time, creating images which show reality. The outcome in this case is an abstracted and artificial version of it.
How did it begin? and how did it evolve?
It started as a documentary photographic project about the Baltic Sea. I started my research with topographic 4x5" photographs as well as scientific geographical material and archives. But when i used the Amber in the photo lab it suddenly was the strongest part of it all and i decided first to combine it with other parts of the research and finally to let it stand for itself.
Glass Compositions, 2021
If you could go back in time to the very beginning of your art practice and give your younger self a single piece of advice what would it be?
Go for it!
Baltic Amber, 2019
About the Artist
Based in Berlin, Germany
Alexander Kadow was born 1985 in Winsen/Luhe, Germany.
He has been working as photographer and artist since 2011 and currently lives and works in Berlin.
2019-2021 Master of Fine Arts, HfbK (university of fine arts) Hamburg (Broomberg & Chanarin)
2017-2019 Meisterklasse, Ostkreuzschule for photography
2015-2019 Bachelor of Fine Arts, HfbK (university of fine arts) Hamburg (Broomberg & Chanarin)
2007-2010 Lette Verein, photography, Berlin.
View Artist Profile