10.06. - 20.07.2023

Michael Dressel

9 HOURS APART. Photography from Berlin and Los Angeles

Opening reception
Saturday, 10.06. 17:00-21:00 | 19:00 introduction by Dr. Enno Kaufhold

The Life of Michael Dressel tells an extraordinary German-American artist's biography. Born in East Berlin in 1958, after a failed escape attempt and two years in the GDR penitentiary, he experiences a few short but intense years in the wild pre-wall fall West Berlin. Even before the fall of the Wall, he finds himself on the West Coast of the USA and makes Los Angeles his new home. There he works for years as a sound editor for numerous Hollywood films, some of which have won Oscars and Golden Reels for sound, including the last sixteen Clint Eastwood films, resulting in his appointment to the Oscar Academy. Throughout this time, he regularly commutes between the two metropolises - at home in both cities and equally familiar and foreign. 

Reflection on daily experience in the world of stars and Hollywood studios and awareness of their ultimate inadequacy played a special role in his photographic work from the beginning. How many people are there who came to Hollywood full of dreams and hopes and who now eke out an existence in the shadow of the "dream factories"? "On Hollywood Boulevard, the so-called "Walk of Fame", a never-ending spectacle full of tragic, comic, absurd and sometimes dangerous situations takes place. In this environment I find human scenarios that are often timeless and point beyond the concrete place." (MD) That Michael Dressel's work is often classified under the rubric of social documentary only incompletely captures his concern. Without question, social commentary cannot be separated from photographs of people, many of whom have been marginalized by poverty, illness, drugs, or strokes of fate. For Dressel, however, this is only the superficial first layer of his pictures. 

What makes a picture a good picture, he says, is the visualization of a more fundamental level that is effective and valid regardless of the place and time of the photograph, regardless of the class, race, origin, or age of those portrayed.  The exhibition pursues this idea and shows photographs from Berlin for the first time alongside the photographs from Hollywood and Los Angeles. The 9-hour time difference between the two cities represents more than just different time zones: "When I come to Germany, I often feel like I'm coming from a social future..."