This is an exhibition of new works from 2010/2011
under the title ‘ARCHAIK’. On show are 43 black and white photographs of original objects which Christian and Helga von Alvensleben collected at places worldwide and photographed with a plate camera using the analogue photography technique. These works are devoted to a presentation of the primeval forms of life and confront the beholder with the transience of all human life. One of the series shows in impressive portraits the participants of a seemingly archaic Greek spring festival based on ancient customs, whereas other series acquaint the viewer with the veracity inherent in prehistoric objects such as shells, stones, bones and cactuses in authentic, unadorned close-up photographs.

‘Whenever I meet people with ancient customs, they manifest themselves to me as a strong community. When I pick up a stone I hold the universe in my hands.
When I behold a shell or a snail, I see the most beautiful and ancient architecture in the world, and whenever I see a cactus – singular as it is – in its hostile environment, I am aware of its art of survival.

It becomes evident that the stone which is billions of years old will certainly outlive us; as survivalists the shell and the cactus will outlast us. Only those people who are incorporated into large families and clans and who live a natural life will continue to exist.

Our topic “Archaik” tells of the past and the future.
The present only explains itself to me in a photograph of a given moment in time because as soon as one thinks and acts the present is already past. When we observe the explosion of a supernova it probably already happened several thousand light years ago. To me the future is also continuous past.’

Christian von Alvensleben