Biography

Bjoern Thomas, born 1971 in Cologne, Germany. His work has been presented e.g. in Miami Basel, New York, Shanghai, Museum of Contemporary Art in Beijing or Saatchi Museum in London and has been sold to major collectors like the famous Pritzker family in Los Angeles or the unique Jan Eric Löwenadler collection in Sweden. Bjoern Thomas creates stimulating environments of people from all walks of life, presenting situations both real and fantastical in order to explore the complexities of human experience through an artistic and honest lens. He stylizes people in staged environments in order to theatrically combine fact with fiction, real people within symbolic and illuminated environments. Through his combination of reality with imagination, his subjects ranging from the discovery of outer space, distant cultures in faraway lands to incarcerated gangsters and crime families become more than documentations of people in unfamiliar lived environments but become cinematic, adding a theoretical layer to his aesthetic portraits that triggers investigations into the alluded symbolic imagery. Bjoern Thomas uses photography to discover foreign elements prevalent in our society, exploring uncanny sub-cultures one does not personally understand or is influencing humankind with a unique space art project. The photographer unearths the differences between individuals, the alien aspects one may never have personally encountered, seen most notably in his “Art Space” pictures or powerful “Gangster” series. He photographs for instance released prisoners from Los Angeles correctional facilities not in their prison cells, but in expressive situations that explore the complexities of criminal actions; rather than voicing their injustice and deviant behaviors, Bjoern Thomas symbolizes their de-criminalization and entryway back into the guidelines of social justice. Bjoern Thomas’s photographs of minority individuals and distant cultures eloquently shows that the unknown is a dialectical phenomenon that eventually becomes familiar and not far removed from our own understanding of human existence. A German TV channel broadcasted a 4min interview about his space project. Watch this: https://vimeo.com/86936992    


Gangsters: In a recent series of works, shown in distinctive international art fairs, Bjoern Thomas focuses his lenses on an underground group of modern society, that is, the gangsters. He photographs released prisoners from Los Angeles correctional facilities not in their prison cells, but in expressive situations that explore the complexities of criminal actions; rather than voicing their injustice and deviant behaviors. As STEVEN G. BRANDL maintains, “Gangsters, in particular, became larger than life, capturing the imagination of millions of Americans. Gangsters like ‘‘Machine Gun’’ Kelly, Al Capone, ‘‘Ma’’ Barker, and others became notorious heroes.” Bjoern Thomas’s two large format works, “Bloody Supper” and “OMG-Oh My Gangsters” stand, in first view, in sharp contrast to iconic images of Christianity where Christ and his twelve apostles are pictured. “Bloody Supper” is clearly a parody of Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”; the bloody wine which symbolizes Christ’s blood and barefoot for the washing act. On a second view you will realize that the gangsters, who were in total around 100 years in prison, write “bloody supper” with their finger signs. Bjoern Thomas has - chosen Christ - out of the group, while doing that he got inspired by the only one with a real beard and a “crucifix” on his breast. To choose the betrayer, Judas, he leaves with the audience. While a belief in crime is necessary to make a gang with their symbols, including hand gestures and tattoos, which are apparent in the works, another viewpoint is not invalid and that is the possibility of change from a gangster to a saint or vice versa and this is where the binary opposition and the logic collapse. The background of “last Supper” is like a fresco, which adds an air of medievalism to the work. Watch also the making of video: https://vimeo.com/69996615

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