Contemporary Wanderlust – The Antithesis to Romanticism


Today we would like to stimulate your minds with an interesting new exhibition that is currently on display at the DRIVE. Volkswagen Group Forum in Berlin-Mitte. Curated by the aff Galerie from Berlin the show presents the work of the three photo artists Arno Schidlowski, Jens Sundheim, and Kathrin Tschirner with the themes of Wanderlust and Romanticism at its core.

For me, the topic of Romanticism has a very special meaning because one of the main artists of this era, Caspar David Friedrich, is from the same city like me, Greifswald, and some of his major works were inspired by places from or around my hometown. In my childhood, I have often been on the near-by island Rügen where Friedrich painted the iconic chalk cliffs – a natural landmark that is currently disappearing due to natural erosion.

Arno Schidlowski, “Jasmund”

Arno Schidlowski, “Jasmund”

It was through travel photography on Instagram that the major motif of Romanticism has been brought back into my mind. With so many Instagram photographers posting pictures of people from behind how they are observing a stunning landscape I started to see a parallel to Friedrich’s iconic painting “Wanderer Above The Sea of Fog”. This motif somehow became a contemporary icon for wanderlust and traveling.

The three photo artists that are part of the #fernweh exhibition have all explored the same theme in their work, but with quite different results.

Arno Schidlowski actually went to some of the sights from Caspar David Friedrich’s most famous paintings for his series titled “Jasmund”. But Romanticism’s promise of a union of human and nature he could not find there. What he captured in his photos instead is a beauty that feels detached and unreachable.

Jens Sundheim, Strandpromenad, Hide, Sweden, 2015

Jens Sundheim, Wadden Sea, Juist, Germany, 2007

The motif of the lonely wanderer also appears in the works of Jens Sundheim. He shows his traveler as an urban nomad in a globalized and digitalized world through the focus of a webcam. For 17 years he traveled from one publicly accessible webcam to the next questioning the boundaries between the private and public room and finding proof that a retreat into nature is not possible anymore without leaving a digital footprint.

The symbolic wanderer of Kathrin Tschirners work seems to be caught between wanderlust and homesickness. He is on a journey through an urban landscape where nature seems to slowly dissolve, but the longing for a union remains, leaving him in a limbo of nostalgia and reality.

Kathrin Tschirner, Limboville, Barcelona

Kathrin Tschirner, Limboville, Istanbul

The exhibition #fernweh with the works of Arno Schidlowski, Jens Sundheim, and Kathrin Tschirner curated by aff Galerie Berlin is on display at the DRIVE. Volkswagen Group Forum at Friedrichstraße 84 in Berlin-Mitte until October 14th, 2018, open daily from 10-20h. The entry is free.

Diesen Artikel auf deutsch lesen.

<a href="" target="_self">Frank</a>



Frank is the founder and editor-in-chief of iHeartBerlin. He takes photos, makes videos, and writes texts mostly about what's going on in Berlin. His vision and interests have shaped iHeartBerlin since its conception back in 2007 - and he hopes to continue bringing you the best of Berlin for many years to come.