Kerstin Flake

Series "Good Year / Bad Year"
Series "Shaking Surfaces"
Series "Running out"
Series "Replaces"
Series "Fake Spaces"
Series "Golden Room"
Series "Wände sprechen Bände"
Series "es war nur ein Moment"
Series "...sonst noch was?"

Susanne Holschbach - Shaking Surfaces

What would things do if they were freed from being at hand for us, the human actors? What poses and situations would they choose to be photographed in, if one of them were a camera? This could be one way of interpreting the setting of Shaking Surfaces  – by carefully removing the traces of her intervention, the artist presents us with the seductive illusion of witnessing a spectacle that is not actually performed for us – or is it?

Florian Ebner established a proximity to the “artistic reception of the spirit photography of the late 19th century” in Kerstin Flake’s productions (1). The purpose of this historical form of photography was to capture images of ghosts and thus provide visual evidence of supernatural phenomena, but its proponents came under suspicion of charlatanry. For those who do not believe in ghosts, or doubt the conclusiveness of photography, the question of deciphering a fake is almost certain to arise. How did she do it? – Amazement, followed by curiosity, is a significant aspect of our fascination with Flake’s anarchic pictorial inventions, which play with the visual effects of snapshots and long exposures. But the protagonists themselves are also worthy of our attention. Among the objects depicted in Shaking Surfaces, which are stacked on top of one another in daring “Equilibres”(2) in front of a raw concrete wall in a prefabricated apartment building, or even seem to automatically set themselves in motion, we recognise several relics from the analogue age: for example an ‘antique’ 35mm camera balancing on a balloon, a buzzing Super-8 camera on a Resopal table from the 1950s, sheet film cassettes from a large format camera in a pas de deux with a black glass ceramic vase from the GDR era. Are they the ancestors of a prehistoric media age, rehearsing an act of rebellion against their extinction? Or are they called upon to guarantee that we are looking at photographs that belong to the paradigm of the analogue(3), and not the fabrications of sophisticated post-production?

The media and modernist references inherent in the choice of location and protagonists show that the humour of Flake’s productions is anything but superficial. They (the productions) are an impressive testament to the “photographic life of things” of which the photo historian Michel Frizot speaks (4). Although Frizot’s theory refers to the classical recording of objects, is it not the free play of things that puts this dimension into practice in a particularly striking way?

(1) Florian Ebner: Aufruhr im Interieur, in: Kerstin Flake. Turbulenzen, Lubok Verlag, Leipzig 2009, pp. 5-7. Ebner refers to works by Johanes Brus, Sigmar Polke and the work of Bernhard and Anna Blume.

(2) The artist duo Fischli/Weiss used this term to describe a series of photographs showing fragile temporary assemblages. (From the series Stiller Nachmittag, 1984/85).

(3) Regardless of the fact that the stagings were photographed with a digital camera, and that two shots have already been put together

(4) Michel Frizot: Das fotografischen Leben der Dinge, in: Seelig, Thomas (ed.): Im Rausch der Dinge. Vom funktionalen Objekt zum Fetisch in Fotografien des 20. Jahrhunderts, Steidl Verlag, Göttingen 2004.

  • 1967 born in Karlsruhe
    1997-2003 Studies of photography at the Academy of Fine Arts, Leipzig
    (class for photography and media with Prof. Joachim Brohm)
    2003 Diploma Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts, Leipzig
    lives and works in Leipzig

Solo shows

  • 2023 Wellen unhörbarer Melodien, Museum of Visual Arts, Leipzig
    Flying in Milk (with Luise Schröder), Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    bent angles, Junge Kunst, Wolfsburg
  • 2018 Good Year / Bad Year, Galerie Kleindienst - Salon Käthe, Leipzig
  • 2016 hangover (with Tom Fabritius), Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    2013 replaces, Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    2011 SUN SALT (with Caroline Hake), Galerie LORIS, Berlin
    2010 Fake Spaces, Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    Fake Spaces, Galerie Nathalia Laue, Frankfurt/Main
    2005 Umschlag (with Stefan Fischer), Galerie Amerika, Berlin
    2003 Es war nur ein Moment, Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    2002 belichtet. Six positions of contemporary photography, Kunstverein Bochum / Haus Kemnade, Bochum

Group shows

  • 2023 Construct your Stories III, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin
    Image of Thought, Villa Heike, Berlin 
    Lux. 28th Leipziger Jahresausstellung, Spinnerei Halle 12, Leipzig
    Aufbruch, Prince House Gallery, Mannheim
    New, Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    The Covid 19 Diaries, Lovaas Project, Munich
    Stille Post, Galerie Ursula Walter. Dresden
    Close Friends, Galerie b2, Leipzig 
    Image of Thought, Kunsthaus Potsdam e.V., Potsdam
    Meisterstück, Zentrum für Aktuelle Kunst, Berlin 
    be 2, Galerie B2, Leipzig
    PopUp Galerie Sibold's Sun by Nathalia Laue | Galerie & Edition, Frankfurt am Main
    Anders wo, Kunstverein Gästezimmer, Stuttgart
    Perceptions II. Painting, graphics, photography in the representation of the Free State of Saxony at the Bund Berlin
    „back & forth“, plan.d. produzentengalerie e.V. , Düsseldorfer Photo Weekend, Düsseldorf
    Depot #9 Photography, Dresden State Art Collections
    2017 Desperate Housewives? Artists clean up, State Textile and Industry Museum Augsburg
    Von (Ab)Wesenheiten, Fotografie aus den Sammlungen des Brandenburgischen Landesmuseums für moderne Kunst, BLmK Cottbus, Frankfurt/Oder und der Sparkasse Leipzig
  • 2016 Desperate Housewives? Künstlerinnen räumen auf, Städtische Galerie Villingen-Schwenningen / Kunstmuseum Mühlheim an der Ruhr / Kunstsammlungen Zwickau - Max-Pechstein-Museum
  • Deine blauen Augen sind mir scheißegal, Bühlers, Fürth
  • 2015 ART N MORE feat. Galerie Kleindienst, Galerie Kleindienst project room, Berlin
  • 2.5.0. Object is Meditation and Poetry..., Grassi Museum für angewandte Kunst, Leipzig
    Desperate Housewives? Künstlerinnen räumen auf, Museum im Kulturspeicher, Würzburg
    2014 Zucht@Ordnung, 21st Leipzig Annual Exhibition, Westwerk, Leipzig
    BGL#2, Kesselhaus, Bergisch Gladbach / Cologne
    WIR1 - Acting in Concert, Klinger Villa, Leipzig
  • Cakes for now, Gone Fishing, Leipzig
    2013 Du bist mein Spiegel. Part 1-Girls, Potemka Gallery, Leipzig
    Disturbances in the structure, Ancient Bath, Plovdiv (Bulgaria)
    Gekauft. Acquisitions of the Graphic Collection 2003-13, Museum of Visual Arts, Leipzig
    jetzt hier. Contemporary art of the Kunstfonds, Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau, Dresden
    2012 BIS HIER - 50 years Kunstverein Bochum, Kunstmuseum Bochum / Haus Kemnade, Bochum
  • portes ouvertes, Galerie Nathalia Laue, Frankfurt/Main
    2011 Auslöser, Sparkasse Leipzig Art Exhibition Hall, Leipzig
    Leipzig. Photography since 1839, Museum of Visual Arts, Leipzig
    Wir belohnen Sie, Ortloff art space, Leipzig
    2010 Wiedersehen, Kunstverein Bochum / Haus Kemnade, Bochum
    Storytellers, Galerie Nathalia Laue, Frankfurt/Main
    2008 Drawcula, Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    Hake & Flake, Galerie b2, Leipzig
    2007 Gegen die Wand, Galerie b2, Leipzig
    14th Leipzig Annual Exhibition, Westwerk, Leipzig
    Raum, Galerie Amerika, Berlin
    2006 Pferdeausstellung, ASPN, Leipzig
    Leipzig and photography, Sparkasse Leipzig Art Exhibition Hall, Leipzig
    2005 A2, Galerie Amerika, Berlin
    2003 Staged Photography 4, PPS Gallery, Hamburg
    2002 Junge Kunst VII, Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    Psychoscape, Galerie b2, Leipzig / Welti Furrer Areal, Zurich
    2001 5th Aenne Biermann Award, Museum für Angewadte Kunst, Gera


  • 2022 Award of the Leipziger Jahresausstellung
    Catalogue funding ("Bent Angles") by Stiftung Kunstfonds Bonn
    Foreign Exchange Scholarship in Columbus, Ohio (USA), by the Free State of Saxony
  • 2009 Catalogue sponsorship by the Cultural Foundation of Saxony
    2008 Working grant by the Cultural Foundation of Saxony
    2001 Appreciation. 5th Aenne Biermann Award, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Gera


  • 2021 Kerstin Flake -Bent Angels (catalogue), Lubok Verlag Leipzig, awarded with the Deutscher Fotobuchpreis 2012/22 in Silver
    2.5.0. Object is Meditation and Poetry…, Alba D'Urbano, Olga Vostretsova(Hg./Ed.), Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig
    Kerstin Flake - Replaces, Angle #15, Multipress, Oslo
  • 2015 Desperate Housewives? Künstlerinnen räumen auf, catalogue by Ina Ewers-Schultz and Martina Padberg, Bonn
  • 2012 BIS HIER - 50 years Kunstverein Bochum, Kunstmuseum Bochum / Haus Kemnade, Bochum
  • 2011 Leipzig. Photography since 1839, Thomas Liebscher (ed.), Passage Verlag, Leipzig
    2009 Kerstin Flake - Turbulenzen, Kerstin Flake/Matthias Kleindienst (ed.), Lubok Verlag, Leipzig
    2006 Leipzig and Photography 02, Sparkasse Leipzig Art Exhibition Hall
    2002 Psychoscape, Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig / HGK Zurich, Leipzig/Zurich
    2000 Parallelwelten, DGV - Die Gestalten Verlag, Berlin