Sebastian Riemer

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Born in 1982 in Oberhausen. Lives and works in Düsseldorf.


Sebastian Riemer is one of the most creative photo-artists of the younger generation in Germany. He studied under Thomas Ruff and Christopher Williams at the Academy of Art in Düsseldorf and has already received numerous awards and distinctions for his artistic work, including


The Riemer’s working method as a  photographer is marked by an analytical and “archaeological” approach, which is not least of all inspired by his keen interest in history. Taking existing or historical reality as his starting point, he creates images that—through enlargement, intensification, or the inversion of color values—do not simply illustrate, but rather reveal hidden structures and levels of reality, thus enabling new perspectives onto habitual patterns of perception. For several years now, the artist has been working on a series that revolves around famous works of art history. Caspar David Friedrich, Kazimir Malevich, and Jackson Pollock are only a few of the artists whose painting Sebastian Riemer has made the focus of his artistic investigations. He photographs well-known masterpieces and presents them as inverted photographic images. Inversion denotes a procedure of image processing with which colors are “inverted,” resulting in the “negative” of the respective color. With Riemer, Malevich’s iconic Black Square thus becomes a white square, while the luminous Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich is transformed into a dark nocturnal image. Nevertheless, Riemer does not remain on the level of a simple illustration of an original artwork with inverted color patterns. On the contrary, he makes use of the possibilities of photographic image processing to facilitate a new, more focused view of the original and, with this, of reality in general. His inverted photographs enable a “high-resolution” view onto individual layers of color and structure within an artwork, which would otherwise remain hidden. Like an archaeologist, Riemer brings to light the creative process of the respective painting, as well as its aesthetic prerequisites. The associated appreciation of the individual painting, as well as a sustained appraisal of the artistic original, sends a clear signal, especially against the backdrop of the flood of images so characteristic of the digital age.