Adrien Missika (born 1981 in Paris, France; lives and works in Berlin, Germany).
Pigment ultra chrome inkjet prints on cotton paper; 60 x 80 centimeters.
“The German term Einfühlung, which gives its name to this photographic series, could be translated as ‘compassion’ or ’empathy.’ But the artist defines it as the feeling that ‘makes one’ with the world. This series presents some large social-oriented housing complexes built throughout Europe. The shots have been taken with a first generation Nokia cell phone. In a large format, the rough pixels evoke the pictorial manner which, at the beginning of the history of photography, was seeking to simulate painting. Wide-angle views reveal the graphic quality of these architectures, it the same time as their wreckage. Adrien Missika includes the vegetal surroundings which frame the buildings. Bucolic, savage or abandoned, these landscapes are oddly reminiscent of the landscape gardens, dear to the author and present in his series ‘Fabriques.’ Like abandoned sceneries (no characters are animating them), these prints evoke the ruins of a dreamed future. The artist seems to wander in a promenade documented by his cell phone. As with the late-eighteenth century ‘Grand Tour’ travelers, Adrien Missika proposes a personal itinerary in the history of architecture and collectivist utopias. The romantic grain, the smooth blur, and the emanating melancholy contrast with the emerging sensation of social bankruptcy. The title of the series, “Einfühlung,” evokes an unusual relationship to these detested and decried housing estates: empathy. The artist mixes cleverly the genres, oscillating between a very contemporary photographic/architectural approach to a more classical pictorial/landscaper approach.”
—”Einfühlung,” website of Adrien Missika.
“Missika’s films and photographs are preoccupied with entropy. For his photographic series Einfühlung (2004–10) (a German term the artist has said he understands as a ‘feeling of oneness with the world’), he made a ‘grand tour’ of the peripheral neighbourhoods of several major European cities, where he took low-resolution shots of Modernist social housing blocks using a first-generation Nokia camera phone. The resulting inkjet prints have a soft-focus, curiously empathetic quality, as though the device that captured them sees in these crumbling, ideologically unfashionable buildings some reflection of its own obsolescence.”
—”In Focus: Adrien Missika,” Frieze, September 1, 2012.