Blurring the borders between art, design and fashion photography, Josefsohn’s works capture the spirit of a generation that playfully mixes media and styles and has found a very individual language for its environment and way of life. But the unique nature of his work lies in the cracks in the surface. Although his pictures are aesthetically pleasing and well-composed, their glossy surfaces conceal an altogether darker, deeper and unspoken level. A good example is his photograph of a middle-class residence in the German countryside. The architecture, the little garden and the curtains in the window are all innocuous enough. But this is the scene of the “Cannibal of Rothenburg” case, a crime that shocked the world. It is precisely this conflict between an aesthetically pleasing surface and the history or events that are associated with it that gives the pictures their disconcerting and decidedly political edge.
Whether the subject is right-wing extremism in Germany or the Middle East conflict, Josefsohn invariably finds unusual motifs and unsettling scenes. His series “Jewing Gun” portrays young Israeli soldiers. The photographs are characterised by the contrasts between military uniforms and small accessories like sunglasses, which make the whole series resemble a fashion spread for a magazine. In fact, what the accessories actually do is show the hue of personality the soldiers have tried to bring to their regulation clothing. Josefsohn does not capture his subjects like an impartial bystander, but as a highly conscious observer who eschews the repetitive stereotypes we so often see in the media.
His photographs, short films, advertising campaigns, and objects are the result of mostly spontaneous, intuitive ideas. Josefsohn does not plan his pictures long in advance, they are not subject to a predetermined concept. They come about on the spur of the moment and are the outcome of the concrete situation. He concentrates a great deal of information and numerous visual influences in a central statement.
For the first time, the exhibition presents his many-faceted work in such breadth. The works from the past 15 years are for the most part shown in their original media: apart from magazine covers, the exhibition presents fashion series, portraits and press photos, skateboards, commercials, and advertising campaigns Hardly any works have been enlarged, mounted, or framed for the presentation. It captures Josefsohn's work as it has come into being, namely spontaneously and fast-moving. The exhibition space resembles his studio: untidy, unorganised, pointers everywhere for an interesting story, a good idea. It is the Josefsohn cosmos that has invaded the Kunstverien for four weeks.
Daniel Josefsohn was born in 1961 and currently lives in Berlin. Since 1995 he has been working as a freelance photographer for magazines including Die Zeit, the magazine of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Jetzt!, Brand Eins and Monopol. He first came to public attention with a series of black-and-white portraits of youngsters, which he took for an MTV campaign. Alongside his photographs and photo essays, Josefsohn also makes films and actual products. For example, through the artist group Elternhaus he was involved in the production of the "MoslBuddJewChristHinDao" fragrance, which was launched for world peace. The fragrance itself was created by Mark Buxton, while Josefsohn developed the idea, the bottle, the packaging and the advertising campaign.
The exhibition is accompanied by an special edition.