Gundula Friese



Born in 1959 in Magdeburg, currently living in Berlin.

Gundula Friese studied photography at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig as well as sound and video design at the Berlin Academy of Digital Media. Her work has been shown in numerous international exhibitions. Gundula Friese was drawn to photography early in life. A portrait of a young boy led to a key moment: He was around eleven years old, the same age as I was then. He stood in the midst of a bleak cityscape, serenely looking into the camera. The image both confused and calmed me, in equal measure. It was a condition of inner agitation. I felt seen and recognized. But wasn’t it I who was looking, gazing at a young boy in a picture? I remembered then that I wanted to take photographs.
From 1999 to 2001 Gundula Friese worked as a photographer for the State Office of Criminal Investigation in Berlin. She spent two years documenting crime scenes, postmortems, injuries, perpetrators and victims. She learnt that pictures are not only taken with the camera but are absorbed by the photographer also – an experience that has influenced her world view ever since. Friese’s portraits of people and places, which take the form of single images as well as series, photographic cycles and videos, are the result of her cautious approach to and persistent observation of the world. She makes connections and interrelations visible so that she and we who look at her work are part of it.
Friese’s work is a quest through time and through the world. Deep Blue (2003-2007), a cycle of analog photographs and video pieces on the ocean, led her around the Iberian peninsula through the Pyrenees, from the Spanish to the Portuguese coast. To Friese, the camera at times is a scientific instrument: by using it to scan the outside world, she traces the counterparts to her inner images and pieces them together as in a mosaic.


2020/21  Großstadt Neukölln 1920-2020, Museum Neukölln, Berlin
2019  EINNORDUNG, Munich
2019  Park Project Berlin, Berlin
2018  Die Lust am Fliegen, Berlin
2017  Art and Science, GREMM, Tadoussac, Canada
2016  Munich Seaside, VDA, Munich
2015  On the Move, VDA, Berlin
2014  Artist in Residence, Schloss Werdenberg festival, Switzerland
2013  The Musician, the Painter, the Designer and the One Who is Still Searching, NYC (documentary film, 45 min.)
2012  View York: Nine Perceptions, German-American Institute Tübingen and Freiburg
2012  Perugia Social Photofest, Villa Fidelia, Spello, Italy
2012  Social Photofest Piombino, Italy
2011  View York: Nine Perceptions, °CLAIRbyKahn, Munich
2010  Mauerfälle EAST – Zu Protokoll / For the Record, Frankfurt
2009  East for the record, Museum of Fine Art / Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig
2009  Pavilhao 28, Espaco Expositivo do Centro Hospitalar Psiquiátrico, Lisbon
2009  Istanbul Next Wave, Akademie der Künste, Berlin
2008  My grandmother. The Steppe. My Love. The Ocean, Lisbon
2008  The Combinatione Arrabbiatica, Lisbon
2007  Arte Lisboa, Lisbon
2007  Fotografien Galerie Jordanow, München
2006  Me and the Ocean, Yoyo Friedrich, New York

AWARDS | collections

2021  Project scholarship recipient, Kulturwerk foundation, VG Bild-Kunst, Berlin
2020  Most Beautiful Books from Lichtenstein Award for Häuser der schlafenden Gedichte/Houses of Sleeping Poems, Lichtenstein
2018  Project scholarship recipient, Kulturamt Steglitz and Lichtenberg, Berlin
2017  Artist in Residence, GREMM, Tadoussac, Canada
2015  Collection of VDA, Berlin
2014  Scholarship and Residence, Schlossmediale Werdenberg, Switzerland
2013  Collection Eastgerman Photography, Gabriele Koenig, Germany
2009  East for the record, Neue Fotografische Sammlung VNG, Germany
2008  Lichtung Fotografische Sammlung des Museum Neuköln, Germany
2000  FreeLens Layout Preis for Das Team, Berlin
1998  First prize European Award For Female Photography ‘97/‘98, Italy
1998  Dryphoto – Arte contemporanea, Prato/Italy PhotoEspana`98, Spain
1998  Award Agfa best Portfolio, Madrid
1996  Goldrausch, female artist project, Berlin
1995  Kunstpreis Brandenburg, Brandenburg, Germany
1993  Scholarship, Foundation Kulturfonds, Berlin
1990  Culture Award for Schillerpromenade, Berlin Photography Collection, Museum Neukölln, Germany


2020  Häuser der schlafenden Gedichte/Houses of Sleeping Poems, Eupalinos, Schaan, Lichtenstein
2020  1920-2020 Großstadt Neukölln, Museum Neukölln, Berlin
2015  On the Move, °CLAIRbyKahn/Kunst im VDA, Germany
2011  View York: Nine Perceptions, Kerber Verlag, Berlin
2010  EAST – Zu Protokoll / For the Record, Steidl, Göttingen
2001  Der letzte Limes, Walther König, Cologne
2001  Das Team, Walther König, Cologne
1998  Imago ‘98, Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca, Spain
1998  I luoghi della vita, Comeana, Villa Le Farnete, Italy
1997  Waschhaus, eine Garnisionswaschanstalt, Berlin
1996  Gesten, Walther König, Cologne