Since I received my first Kodax "Box II" camera from my grandfather, I  was fascinated with taking pictures. With 17, I could afford to buy a used "Praktica" reflex camera and started making my first consistent series of portraits during rehearsals of the theatre group I had joined. As a volunteer for a political film agency that needed new press photos every month, I learned to work in the dark room. Later, as a student of Social Sciences in Berlin, I portrayed the members of our Wilhelm Reich workshop and other friends in the Kreuzberg scene.

In the artist commune I joined in 1982, we had some professional photographers to do our documentation, so I concentrated on theatre, drawing, painting and sculpture instead. Only in the Nineties, I found back to my old passion through co-operating with a young, talented US photographer, Scott Kuckler, who did experimental Polaroid nudes. With Erika, the daughter of our friend and art agent Cynthia Close, as a model I started exploring the interaction of Art, Nude and Photography by projecting well-known paintings on her skin. Below, you find some of the photo projects I did since 1990.

 "ART HISTORY" ProjeCt 1990-1996

In his book "Natural History" Pliny the Elder describes the origin of Art: The daughter of a potter from Sykion is said to have projected the shadow of her lover with a lamp on the wall and then to have copied its outline before his departure. According to this anecdote, the starting-point of Art is the body - as the original motif and starting point of human experience - and the desire to catch its form and create oneself a double of the object we desire, as an attempt to possess it in a magical way.

The photographical essays of the Art-History series reflect this relation between artistic production and its primary subject. Every epoch, every artistic style deals with the human body in its own way: gothic medieval art idealizes it as the personification of faith and martyrium, the Renaissance celebrates its carnality, the impressionists dissolve it in colored spots, Picasso finally splits it in cubist elements. Dalí transplants it into the landscape of his critical-paranoid phantasmagories, abstract modernism bans it from the canvas, Pop Art shows the idols of the media-society as stencil, reproducible at will, while some photo-realists present automobiles and luxury articles as libidinous substitute objects - fetishes of consumption.

The Art History Project radically reduces Art - as a product of sublimation - to its primary desire by projecting selected paintings on the bodies of the models, these art works are literally "thrown back" back to the starting-point. The projection process deforms the composition of the famous museum pieces and so offers place for irony and comment.

The "Art History" photos were not produced by sandwich-technique or digital manipulation but evolved from the permanently changing canstellation of camera, slide projector and model in my studio. Cibachrome enlargements have been exhibited in Amsterdam, Munich, Leipzig, Zürich, Madrid, among others.

One of the early sessions with Erika, using a Dalí painting.


Projecting Motherwell´s "Mexican Window" on Julie´s navel.

Yvonne from Chicago with 
Warhol's "100 Marilyns" print

Portraits africains - Playing with traditional African patterns

Parallel to the Projektion of paintings, I experimented in the early 90-ties with the projection of traditional African textile patterns on the skin of models with African roots. This resulted in a series of strong, expressive nude portraits, exhibited for the first time in Gallery Africain in Munich-Schwabing in 1992/93. A series of framed and matted portraits I later donated to an University Hospital of the Ludwigs-Maximilian-University in Munich.

Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam (A.M.D.G.)

In 1994, I was invited through my art agent and friend Cynthia Close to do a solo exhibition at the "Kunstpavillion", the permanent Gallery of the Artist Trade Union in Munich. Dealing with the ambiguities and hypocrisy of the catholic faith I was raised with, I devised a series consisting of:

[A] projections of religious painting on the body (like in ART HISTORY)
[B] over-lifesize black-and-white nudes combined with a crucifix 
[C] a large tryptichon showing a (female) Christ, Mary and Mary Magdalen.

The show was on for four weeks at this central location in the city and caught the sourish comment from the Director of the Munich Photography Museum, that F. Holland Day had done portraits posing as Christ already a century before....

Rodin Nude PHOTO ProjeCt 1992-2001

The Rodin Photo Project deals with the works of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin ( 1840 - 1917). The project explores the possibility - or impossibility - to re-create the nude poses that were the starting point of Rodin´s sculptures and drawings. To Rodin, Nature and especially the sensuality of the female body were the most important sources for inspiration. To reconstruct Rodin´s view of Art means to work with the living model, with its individual possibilities and boundaries instead of taking pictures of the bronzes or by trying to produce precise live duplicates. Like the "Art History" project, the Rodin Photo Project asks for the origin of artistic creation; the very process of producing Art means to move away from its source by translation and abstraction.

Since 1992, over 80 girls and women have participated as models for this long-term photo project. Part of the photographs resulted from improvisation, from the spontaneous movements or typical poses of the model. Such sketches have later been selected and elaborately developed as silver gelatine and gum bichromate prints. In 1998 the results have been exhibited in the Art History Institute of the Bonn University, Germany. Some gum bichromate prints have also been been shown in the exhibition "Sculpture in the Light of Photograpy," held in the Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum in Duisburg, in the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire in Fribourg, Switzerland and the Sammlung Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig in Vienna in 1998.

The gum bichromate technique is an old art print technique of the 19th century. Every print is made individually by multiple exposure and developping processes and is an unique piece. Several examples are now in the collections of the Wiljelm-Lehmbruck-Museum Duisburg, The State Gallery Moritzburg in Halle/S., the Town Gallery Jena and in the Nürnberg Artotheque.

Gum print "Fauness"
with Nadine

Silver gelatin print "Psyche" 
with Julika

Gum print "Danaid"
with Simone

"Indian Delegation in Munich"  - Portraits of indian leaders

During the year 1992, celebrated as the "Columbus Year" all over the world, a delegation of Indians, consisting of the eldest or spiritual leaders of their North American and Mexican tribes, visited political leaders in Germany. They drew attention to the fact that America already possessed a rich native culture before Columbus "discovered" the continent, and emphasised the need for peaceful cultural exchange between the people. The organising committee invited me to take formal portriats of the delegation members during their visit to the Munich Town Hall. These portraits were later exhibited by the Ethnological Museum in Munich, and eventually donated to this institution. Another series of framed and matted prints was presented to the "Association for International Understanding - Kanto de la Tierra".

"Sarasvati Experience"  - Performance / Video projeCt 1997

While the Rodin Photo Project perceives the world through the eye and deals with the body from a distance, the Sarasvati Experience goes one step ahead - or in fact it steps back: it draws back on my personal experience with body performances using different materials like clay milk, food, oil, earth, grass, as practiced in the "Vol Sap" artist community Amsterdan in in the early Eighties, inspired by Viennese Actionism. 

In late summer of 1997, a glass house in the Botanikum in Munich was used to host an artistic happening together with Sophie Prinz and Nicole Dyba. Sunflower oil, liquid clay, fruits and juices were elements used in a mostly improvised sensual interaction between the participants, again to explore the relation between Art and Nature, between form and desire. The whole event was documented on video. Recently, I have started  editing the old Hi8 tapes, digitised after the introduction of digital video equipment.

"Standing ovation"  - Performance / Video projeCt 2001

During the recording of this interactive video project, designed and produced by the Czech video artist Jakub Morawek, I was spontaneously invited to be its main actor. The performance deals shows a seated audience, showing neutral interest, then sympathy, applause, finally euphoric frenzy. By going back and forth on a wired carpet, visitors watching the life-size video screen can trigger various phases to be displayed and experience being "famous for fifteen minutes" (Warhol).

Jakub´s project, created to obtain the Master´s degree at the Munich Art Academy, must have triggered some of the shown enthusiasm in those who saw it as well, since it has won various prices and in Berlin attracted the interest of the Sprengel Museum, Hannover.

Digital Sculpture Project - ART RESEARCH

Since 2001: Developing methods of 3D scanning of sculptures in Museum situations. Preparing a Museum of Digitised Sculpture.

Trip to Basel to scan Rodin's "Walking Man" (217 cm high)

Over the years, I visited ca. 20 Museums in Germany, Holland, Denmark, France, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic with my team, photographing and scanning original plaster sculptures by Barye, Carpeaux, Boucher, Rodin, Claudel, Bourdelle, Maillol, Bugatti, Rosso, Arp, Picasso. Apart from fringe projection and laser scanners, I used stereo photography.


3D-Difference model comparing two versions of Rodin's "Caryatid". Click to enlarge.

In June/July 2005, we did a preview exhibition at Gallery Tirreno, Munich. At the moment, we are preparing photo exhibitions for the Museums in Aix-les-bains and Belfort. In the long run, I plan to establish a permanent gallery or Museum to display the results of this project. See www.imodoc.org and www.rodin.info as well as www.ep.liu.se/ea/cis/2004/002/index.html.

"Alice in Wonderland" - London 2006

In December 2006, I attended the Rodin Symposium at the Royal Academy of Arts, together with my friends Alida Kreutzer and Anna Tahinci. Just across the street, we discovered the ingenious Christmas window decoration of Fortnum & Mason, featuring scenes from "Alice in Wonderland, while mirroring the facade of the Royal Academy with its exhibition banners.
The pictures were quickly taken, and improved with PhotoShop later, to tickle the maximum of detail and colour from them. This series was exhibited in Gallery Tirreno in Munich in February 2007; a second set of framed and matted prints was donated to the Royal Academy.

"A Mad Tea Party" - Shop window scene at Fortnum & Mason, Grocery to H.M. the Queen, Piccadilly, London


Portraits - A continuing Passion

During all my life as a photo artist, I never stopped making portraits of friends, my wife, my children, colleagues, models, anyone with an interesting face. A recent selection was exhibited in February 2007 in Gallery Tirreno in Munich, along with the "Alice in Wonderland" series. This picture shows a portrait of my colleague Petra, art historian from Prague. Exhibited at my "Kreativstudio"-Gallery in Munich in November 2007.

"Black & White"

"Nymphet" - Fotoshootings with Katja 2007

Travelling through Bulgaria in Summer 2007, I met Iris and her daughter Katja, living near Basel. Since we shared our interest in Art and Photography, we decided to organise a photo shooting with Katja in my Munich studio. Katja proved to have a rare talent for mimicking all the aspects of the adolescent "nymphet" as described by Nabokov:  then naive, then provoking, then seductive, bored, stubborn, puzzling. Twelve motifs were worked out as large colour prints; a selection of these was shown at my "Kreativstudio"-Gallery in Munich in November 2007.

"Beauty & The Beast" - Ines + Attila 2007

Ines works as a media consultant and readily agreed to have her portrait made. But as a bodyguard, she took her dog Attila with her. At first I thought, the beast might run over the studio lights. Finally, I preferred portraying Ines together with her dog, their interaction giving both dynamics and a sense of intimacy to the scene. Dispayed at my "Kreativstudio"-Gallery in Munich in November 2007.



"Little red Riding hood/Wolf´sbride" 2007

With Antonia, a promising young actor from the prize-winning Vagenwood film team, I did several portrait sessions in the Winter of 2007. This picture shows her red winter coat and cap, resulting in a not-so-innocent-anymore Little Red Riding Hood...

 Galleries     Biography     Exhibitions



Terms of UseFair Use Copyright Policy Menu missing?! Back one page Reload this page | Top of this page 

© Copyright 1996 - 2002 for web design and original art work: Hans de Roos & ART-FORUM.org authors - All Rights Reserved
Last update of this page: 05.01.2008