Living Room San Francisco & Berlin 


Selected from GETXOPHOTO 


Nolle’s work complex Living Room addresses the ever increasing discrepancy between rich and poor and examines far-reaching socio-political changes and the dynamics of exclusion and gentrification using the example of housing. The project began in San Francisco in 2017 and has been working on its continuation in Berlin since 2019. The typological study shows temporary dwellings of homeless people in the living rooms of wealthy people. In developing the project, Nolle works with homeless people to understand how their improvised shelter is constructed. To reconstruct the buildings, she uses materials that she finds or swaps on the street and then arranges them in a performative act in a wealthy environment.

Detached from their original surroundings, the dwellings resemble sculptural structures and reveal the creative power of their owners. The staged photograph serves her as a method of investigation that is able to bring together economic conditions that could not be more different in one image. The series thus provides insights into social spheres that, despite their contrasts, often remain equally hidden. Living Room is related to Nolle’s general artistic interest in expressing the social construction of a “home” and the complexity of unhoused living and exploring the associated class relations and spatial politics.

Jana Sophia Nolle, b. 1986, in Germany. Lives and works in Berlin, GER. Affiliate artist with Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Nolle’s artistic practice is multidisciplinary and operates at the interface of research, observation and documentation as well as photography and installation. Her works are created in cooperation with various communities and are temporarily expanded to include other media and methods such as video and social practice. They take place both thematically and formally in public and private spaces. They open up “other” places such as sidewalks and living rooms as a stage, whereby the definition and scope of the public and private spheres are brought into a field of tension. Nolle pursues a conceptual approach that reconnects realities that are drifting apart and questions their relationship to one another. She creates strong counter-images that emphasize power relations and hierarchies through their contrasting arrangement and at the same time irritate. She sees herself as a “border crosser” who moves in contradictory worlds in order to give abstract social transformation processes a perceptible presence and address social grievances.

Nolle received her MSc from SOAS University London, UK, and a degree in Photography from Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie, Berlin, Germany.

Getxophoto is an image festival created and managed by Begihandi, that has been taking place in Getxo—Basque Country, Euskadi—since 2007. This festival is part of a cultural ecosystem with the aim of being more participatory, hybrid, committed and sustainable. This thematic Festival is conceived as a platform that addresses contemporary challenges through different proposals, from visual storytellers around the world, in an attempt to create spaces for reflection and establish a collective conversation. Getxophoto is characterized by the radical defense of public space (both physical and online). For this reason, most of its programme is composed of outdoor installations, highlighting, on the one hand, the link between the image and the environment and, on the other, generating a more horizontal and participatory relationship with the public.

This year, the festival will take the theme of Play seriously as the multiplicity of its forms, approaches and potentialities will be explored. From the field of image and photography—and beyond—we’ll all be immersed in the idea of Play that is also presented as an initiation or activation.

María Ptqk is the curator of GETXOPHOTO 2024.

Copyright © Jana Sophia Nolle and Getxophoto, all rights reserved

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