Friday, 19 September 2014, 24:00 | midnight

#57: Sven Johne

 Sven Johne celebrates the cast & crew premiere of

Jutta, 2014, 17:36 min (Actor: Tatja Seibt)

A paradise island – beaches, palm trees, the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. The island is owned by the German-Brazilian tycoon Erik Tabarao, who intends to develop an exclusive resort for the extremely wealthy here. That’s in any case what Jutta, his German mother, says. An island reserved for the “leaders of the world” – and for her.

Jutta draws the heavy curtains closed. She says she doesn’t go outside anymore. She moves uneasily through the rooms looking for Gabriela, the maid. But no one’s there. Jutta is alone. In the house and on the island. Maybe this island doesn’t even exist. Maybe everything outside – the beach, the flowers, the sunset – is all just a figment of her imagination.

Then Jutta tells her son’s story. Starting with nothing, Erik made 26 billion dollars practically over night…

Some Engels, 2013, 27:13 min (Actors: Herbert Olschok, Norbert Stöß, Daniel Krauss, Marc Zwinz, Gottfried Richter, Torsten Buchsteiner, Chris Woltmann)

An anonymous day-rate office in Berlin – a handful of amateur and professional actors have been invited to an audition. A young American casting director is apparently looking for an actor to play Friedrich Engels holding the funeral oration for his friend and comrade in arms Karl Marx.

The six actors invited to the audition provide a short overview of their biographies, enumerating their professional success or lack of it and trying to present themselves as appropriate candidates for the role while under fire by the increasingly captious questions emitted by the casting director. They turn to the camera, modulate their voices, strive heroically to merge with the aged Engels, revealing in the process the deeper recesses of their own souls…


Sven Johne (b. 1976 in Bergen on Rügen, Germany) uses the media of photography, video, text, and archive collections to display his work’s conceptual approach. At the core of his work is the question of the authenticity of information, documents and narratives and their verifying nature.

The elements of his work function as apparent or actual proof of the fates of individual, in which, in turn, present-day social, economic, and political conditions are manifested. The subjects are often closely linked to the social changes in East Germany and their effect on individual life stories. Johne’s work reports on former refugees from East Germany, border soldiers, and civil rights activists, but also on ship-hijackings and hiking through the East German countryside in search of wolfs. Fact and fiction interweave; bits of information become symbols. Research results are shaped into allegories of yearnings, ideologies, and economic development.

Sven Johne belongs to a generation of artists who grew up in the former East Germany. He experienced the autumn of 1989 as a child and today examines in a variety of ways, with a politically sharpened awareness, the issues of the historical legacy of East-West German history.

Sven Johne’s web site: