Martina Nitsche was born in Hamburg in 1962 and went to the US in 1985 to pursue her interest in fine arts. After a detour via Harvard University, she arrived at San Francisco State University to study photography, in spite of her parents’ objections. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she enrolled at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington DC.

Against the background of a sheltered, but cosmopolitan childhood and youth in Germany, France and Switzerland, the disparities between rich and poor, and black and white in the US of the late 80s are daunting. Sober, almost documentary photography show these distinctive features of society, merciless capitalism and the advancing AIDS epidemic.

Nitsche’s photography developed significantly with her move to New York in 1993 and the start of a masters program at the School of Visual Arts. In the Manhattan of the closing 20th century, advancing destruction of the environment and global warming move toward general consciousness. In spite of the existential threat, consumption continues unimpeded. People define themselves increasingly through material values and their external appearance. The search for the individual behind this facade inspires Nitsche between 2000 and 2004 to produce a magnificent series of black and white abstracted portraits.

In the following years, colorful, garish and wild images pay witness to the explosion of the individual’s will against all conventions and external restraints. How and where does the individual find his or her place in front of a backdrop of borderless mobility and disintegrating family? In all of this, what role does the church still play? And what role does art have? Can art anticipate, buffer or even thwart social developments?

In her current work, Nitsche addresses the Social Media Community’s crazed inundation of self-portrayal and collective egotism. People are like apparitions, isolated from their environment. They communicate, yet are mute.

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