Ricarda Roggan

The Dignity of Objects

People have images in their minds, images that preoccupy them. Ricarda Roggan looks around to find scenarios that take place before her inner eye. She finds them in abandoned buildings that still contain jettisoned furnishings. She quite specifically takes photographs of objects that are located outside life: “I am a photo-archaeologist,” she says. And as such she takes a systematic approach, puts rules in place to keep randomness at bay in her work. She puts on gloves to touch the objects as she respects the world of things. And she endeavors to avoid leaving any human traces. Ricarda Roggan reduces the content of her images to a minimum and painstakingly prepares each shot: Fascinated by a room in an old school, she determines the position of all the objects in it – tables and chairs –, and adopts this order exactly in a room she builds specially herself. No person is visible, no one’s presence tangible – Ricarda Roggan has isolated everything human from this setting. “I have to make the room my own,” she comments, as only then does she take the photograph.

A table, a chair; two tables, eight chairs; a table, no chair, but a bed instead. And then all these bare rooms, with naked walls. Ricarda Roggan’s photographs are bereft of humans and document the uselessness of objects that have been forgotten. By according them attention, Ricarda Roggan re-instills them with a certain dignity. “I prefer to photograph rooms rather than people, because I can control the rooms better.” So what is it that so fascinates her about tables, chairs and beds? Above all the photographs of them, as she slakes a sculptural thirst and in each image, so carefully constructed, explores the relationship between the objects. To her mind, the sober images from her series “chair, table, bed” are in fact sensual pictures, and she has a sensual relationship to each of them. Yet for all her love of old chairs and jettisoned tables she still longs for new content: “It would be so marvelous to photograph something beautiful for a change.”

“My photographs are not meant to tell stories – I only want to make pictures,” Ricarda Roggan says modestly. Yet her pictures tell stories nevertheless: about the objects’ past, their own lives, and their melancholy. But above all, Ricarda Roggan’s pictures give rise to new stories that unfold in the eye of the beholder.

Biographical information

1972

born in Dresden

1993

Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig

1996

studies Artistic Photography in Leipzig

2002

German university degree

2004

master student degree Prof. Rautert

lives and works in Leipzig