Stages, the project by Jannike Stelling shows an artistic Cape Town overview, with images characterised by graphic surfaces, shapes and surreal environments.

Jannike Stelling, Stages, 2017
Stages, the project by Jannike Stelling shows an artistic Cape Town overview, 26 years after the aparthied. Although the apartheid laws in South Africa have been officially abolished, the population is partly still suffering from poverty, inequality and crime. In the medially arranged images, South Africa often functions as a staged parallel world. For instance the city has been cleaned up for the TV broadcasts of the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The garbage has been removed from the streets, cracks in walls were stuffed and letterings improved. South Africa also serves as a backdrop for the advertising and fashion industry. Photographers and models from all over the world spend seasons at the Cape to find venues for their productions. But what reality do these staged images show?


The ambivalence in the pictures of South Africa is the subject of Stelling’s work. Through digital manipulations, the photographs have been cleaned up, for example by giving houses a new coat of paint. Inspired by David Hockney’s paintings, the images are characterised by graphic surfaces, shapes and an impression of lightness that underlines the ambiguity of the content and gives a subtle kind of unreal or rather surreal. Empty scenes are shown, or sometimes as a break, someone is looking into the camera directly though always at a certain distance. The viewer becomes an isolated observer of a scenario or one that is going to happen.


Jannike Stelling with half german, half swedish roots, was born 1986 in Cologne, Germany. In 2009–2015 she first studied photography at FH Dortmund. Meanwhile she has worked as free assistant to several photographers in Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin. In 2011 Jannike went for a semester to Lisbon, Portugal. Currently she is studying visual communication at the Berlin University of the Arts and will complete her studies in the masterclass of Prof. Fons Hickmann.

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