Video Art Program[The 52nd Program] Sven Johne


Elmenhorst, 2006, HD video, color, sound, 6min. 20 sec.

Sven Johne was born in 1976 on Rügen, an island in the Baltic Sea that was formerly part of East Germany. Many of Johne’s works are concerned with the East German era, and they carefully examine events and people that were known locally. The title of this work, Elmenhorst, is the name of a city on the Baltic Sea that was past of East Germany when the country was divided. The city has long been a popular resort area, but due to the fact that Fehmarn Island, which at the time was in West Germany, was on the opposite shore, many people attempted to cross the sea and escape. But considering that a significant number of them were either captured or lost their lives in the sea, a dark cloud of history hangs over the area.
More than 20 years have passed since German reunification, so an increasing number of young people are unaware of this divided era. Can they possibly understand the hardships of pervious generations whose past included monitoring fellow countrymen and punishing people based on their position? When the young man fires off a series of shots in the video’s final scene, he seems to be trying to eradicate the pain of older Germans and to express his irritation with a generation that dwells on the past.

Sven Johne:
Born in Bergen (Island Rügen) in 1976, currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He graduated as Meisterschüler in Prof. Timm Rautert’s class at HGB Leipzig (Academy of Visual Arts) in 2006. Johne has held solo exhibitions at venues including Edith-Russ-Haus (Oldenburg, Germany), Whitespace(West Palm Beach, Florida, USA), and has participated in numerous group exhibitions.