Johanna Schlegel: tomorrow we won’t come back / 1822-Forum, Frankfurt

“morgen kommen wir nicht wieder” (tomorrow we won’t come back) is an exhibition by Johanna Schlegel, shown from August 9 to September 11 at the 1822-Forum in Frankfurt am Main. In this show, Johanna Schlegel dealt with the fate of a painter and the topic of expulsion. For the exhibition, she created collages that she combined with found objects from her research.

Starting with a landscape painting that Johanna Schlegel repeatedly came across in a family photo archive, she set out to find the painter: Friedrich Karopka-Branntler. The artist tracked down more of his works in various parts of Germany and in the USA. She came across postcards with motifs of former East German territories at online auction houses and exchanged information in forums and bulletin boards. In the course of this research, it became clear that both the family and the painter had a displaced persons background to consider. With the help of official archives, the artist also succeeded in tracing the places of residence of Karopka’s family in their new homeland. She contacted the painter’s son and interviewed contemporary witnesses. The research was followed by travel. The artist purchased a painting by Karopka, which originally belonged to a displaced family, in northern Germany. On another trip to Silesia, she explored the landscape in which the painter grew up. With the support of local residents, Schlegel found an old gravestone of the Karopka family and the house where Friedrich was born.

This extensive research is made comprehensible to visitors through the resulting publication. Pictures that Schlegel found during her search are combined with photographs from her trip to Silesia and supplemented by historical and contemporary texts. In the 1822-Forum, room-sized collages bear witness to the longing for the former homeland.

Johanna Schlegel was born in Munich in 1986. She has been studying free art with a focus on photography since 2016, initially at the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar with Prof. Eric Lanz. After her intermediate diploma, she moved to the Offenbach University of Art and Design in 2020 to study with Prof. Martin Liebscher. Johanna Schlegel lives and works in Offenbach am Main.

Johanna Schlegel: tomorrow we won’t come back / 1822-Forum, Frankfurt. September 9, 2022.

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