Christina Zück

Exotic Creatures

Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose photographic portraits are now veritable classics, once said that “you have to show people in relation to themselves, in other words portray their inner silence.” Each and every photograph remains silent. One of the medium’s fundamental characteristics is its ability to extract objects from the strident and dramatic context of the real world. Unlike film or TV, photography functions without a voice-over. Nonetheless, photos can still talk. Cartier-Bresson was constantly on the look out for the “decisive moment”. And if you succeed in capturing it, then the world holds its breath, elements of a fleeting reality jell, and the person photographed starts to tell his or her story.

Christina Zück makes animal portraits. In a highly technological society, which, in its thirst for expansion, is even embracing the most remote areas of nature, such portraits also have to attract the observer’s eye to the disrupted relationship of man and animal. Christina Zück finds many of her motifs in zoological gardens. There, habitats created by man and painted dioramas, that are also included in her pictures, simulate the natural environs: they document a degree of artificiality in our relationship to nature that is hard to surpass.

Christina Zück concentrates mainly on the animals themselves. Often, the exotic creatures have to function as the object of human projections. The expressive animal portraits, however, have an astonishingly authentic psychological feel to them: they capture the magic of beings who are not conscious of the images created of them and precisely for that reason are one with themselves, at home with themselves.

Biographical information

1969

born in Giessen

1988-89

Studies in Lettres Modernes, Université Stendhal, Grenoble

1989-92

Studies in Ecole Nationale de la Photographie, Arles

1992-93

Studies in Fine Arts, Cooper Union, New York

1993-99

Studies in Art History, Philosophy and Photography at Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe

lives and works in Berlin