Mercedes Wagner
lens-based artist

My artistic practice is based on the photographic image and its representative functions. The topics mostly deal with the mundane and the underlying conditions that shape our present. Having an emphasis on the gesture of displaying, my works often incorporate media-reflexive aspects or refer to the context of science and knowledge.

Everyday objects and practices, language and artifacts are proxies for abstract concepts like culture and identity. My works explore the trivial revealing interrelations of historic, economic and social significance. By means of both the documentary and staging qualities of the photographic image, they turn the unvisible visible, unveiling the complexity of daily life. Using photography’s inherent contradiction of claiming but also generating reality my artistic practice is rather about asking questions than trying to give answers. They seak to reveal our concepts of reality as constructs of a specific system while creating alternative networks of meaning. Involving both still and moving images my site-specific installations, video works and books implement spatial and temporal aspects, sound, text and materials to create frameworks for unusual references.

These photographic spaces enable further possibilities of reality questioning the viewer’s visual mind set. Thus, my work also deals with our relation towards the photographic image, the (depicted) object and the way we perceive the world.

2013-2018: MA Photography Studies and Practice, Folkwang University of the Arts Essen, GER  2015-2016: Research and study trips in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Brazil  2015: Masterclass Contemporary Photography, Centro de la Imagen Lima, PER  2006-2011: BA Scenography and Costume, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover, GER  2004-2005: Magister Studies of Philosophy, Gender Studies, Economic & Social History, Georg-August-University Goettingen, GER

2021 Photo collection of the Federal Government, on permanent loan at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, AT

2021: Project funding, Linden Limmer City District Council, Hannover, GER  Microfunding, Young Culture, Cultural Office Hannover, GER  NEUSTART KULTUR, Digital Voucher, BBK Federal Association, Berlin, GER  2019: Individual Artistic Development (Project), Federal Land of North Rhine-Westphalia, GER  2018: Individual Artistic Development (Research), Federal Land of North Rhine-Westphalia, GER  Project Funding, Society of Friends & Sponsors, Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen, GER  Scholarship, Federal Government of Germany/Foundation Sparkassenstiftung Essen, GER  2017: Short List Folkwang Prize 2017, Folkwang University of the Arts Essen, GER

2021: Stationen, Subway Stop Markthalle / Landtag, Hannover, GER Digitale Herbstausstellung, Kunstverein Hannover, GER  The Hidden Me, Cabaret Voltaire Société and Diversions, Victoria, BC, CAN  The Dreamer, Millepiani, Rome, ITL  2020: Open Studios, Kulturetage Ihmezentrum, Hannover, GER  2019: Made in..., Kunsthaus Essen, GER  2018: Folkwang Finale, Sanaa Building, Zollverein Essen, GER  International Youn Photographers, Photo Biennale 2018, Daeguart Factory, Daegu, KOR  Video Screening, Rundgang 2018, Zollverein Essen, GER  Touch (solo), Raum Z13 Essen, GER  Photoprojekte Bauschau 2007-2018, Baustelle Schaustelle Duesseldorf, Photo Duesseldorf, GER  You there, us here, W-10 Gallery FIU Miami, USA  2017: LIQUID LAYERS même l’eau a l’air fausse (solo), Galerie52 Essen, GER  Before Miami, Baustelle Schaustelle Essen, GER  Folkwang Preis 2017, Sanaa Building Zollverein, Essen, GER  Stopover, UG im Folkwang, Museum Folkwang, Essen, GER  2014: Rundgang Fotografie, Auktionshaus Schützenbahn, Essen, GER  Krisen des Sichtbaren, Pasinger Fabrik, Munich, GER  2011:...können wir das bitte sehen?, Ballhof, Hannover, GER  2010: Vol. 10, Seilbahn Expo Plaza, Hannover, GER

Publication Contributions
2018: Encounter V History of Photography in Daegu, International Young Photographers Exhibition, Photo Artists Society of Korea: Photography Exhibition, Fringe Photo Festival, Galleries Association of Daegu: Special Photography Exhibition, catalogue, Photo Biennale 2018, Daegu, KOR  International Young Photography Exhibition, catalogue, Photo Biennale 2018, Daegu, KOR 2017: Stopover, brochure, UG im Folkwang, Museum Folkwang Essen, GER  Irgend, artist's book, hand-made, Essen, GER  2014: Schöne neue Welt, HANT Magazine for Photography, No. 04, Erfurt, GER  Folkwang UdK, brochure, Photokina Academy 2014, Cologne, GER

2020: Über weites Wasser, Flusser Studies 29 – 2020/Centennial Three-Part Issue,  2018: Ein fotografischer Körper? Aktivität und Passivität eines theoretischen Objekts. MA thesis, Folkwang University of the Arts Essen, GER

Activities and Collaborations
2021: Ceramic Studio (with Alejandra Rodriguez Maldonado), PLATZprojekt e.V./platzWERK e.V., Hannover, GER  2017/18Student council, appointment process, Photography & Time-Based Media, Folkwang University Essen, GER   2017-18: Collaborator, Baustelle Schaustelle Space for Young Art Essen/Duesseldorf, GER  2013: Scenography (with Mona Lühring), Playground Love, motion picture, directed by Nils Loof, GER  2009/10: Scenography and Costume, Disco Pigs, role play by Enda Walsh, directed by Titus Georgi, Studio Theatre, Hannover, GER