You have to look at it twice. You have to ask yourself what it is and how she does it. Several dozens of technical photographic terms appear in your head before you get the right explanation.
The worldview of Franziska Stünkel is too paradoxical to decipher it at the very first glance. Her ability to see hidden things, or even narrations, is probably rooted in her education. She studied film directing and photography at the Art Academy in Kassel and the Academy of Visual Arts in Hannover. Besides her successes in film production, photography has always been of great artistic importance for her.
But even in her photos, the motives are never immovable, rigid or still.
Franziska Stünkel is a photo artist and is quite a storyteller. She travels around the world with her camera looking for still authentic places. Wherever she is, Africa, Asia, or Europe, she catches fragile motives in the shop window reflections.
Via the camera lens, she reveals the reality to us just as it is, but in a way that we would never be able to see it ourselves. Stünkel brings two parallel worlds together, sometimes so different that one could hardly imagine that there is only a thin window glass between them. Through her art, she shows the poetic side of our everyday life.
Transparent pedestrians, mundane urban motives, and lush city landscapes are granted their moment of grace.
Another paradoxical thing about Franziska Stünkel's art is her ability to transform highly figurative motives into abstraction. Material objects sometimes lose their materiality in her works and tend to become symbols.
Through window reflection, some objects are deprived of their original context and become isolated. There is something very ephemeral in her artwork; colors and structures receive transparency through the reflection and symbolize the fragility of our life.
The dimensions and quality of her artwork allow a viewer to enter another reality. The viewers feel as though they are a part of the artwork as they see a symbolic reflection of themselves in the artwork.
On June 19, 2018, the newly opened restaurant Bastion in Hamburg, run by Tim Becker and Tomas Benakovic, hosted the art show of Franziska Stünkel.
The showcased pieces reflected the diversity as well as the integrity of her artwork. Her photography ranged from minimalistic to highly detailed and complex, thus enabling the discovery of new aspects of everyday life.
No matter on which continent Stünkel creates the image, she manages to depict something very familiar and very estranged at the same time. Her photography is candid photography of life and our surroundings.
The famous art dealer from Hamburg, Jenny Falckenberg, curated the art show as part of her Salon d'Art program. The program includes short-term art events in pop-up locations.
With such a unique concept, she would like to provoke a vivid art discussion and grant diverse people access to art and artists. Jenny Falckenberg strongly believes that art belongs to everybody.
Written by Daria Elagina.
Featured image: Exhibition view, Salon d'art with Franziska Stuenkel, Bastion, Hamburg. All images courtesy the author.