Birthe Piontek, 2019

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One of TIME Magazine’s best photobooks of 2019, Abendlied (Evening Song) examines how individual relationships in a family are shaped by the processes of growing up, aging, and eventually letting go. It reveals how this circle of life not only contributes to an ebb and flow of connection, but also to a feeling of separation within the family bond.

The project aims to look at the elements that create a family: not just the genes, but also the stories and secrets, as well as the objects that we surround ourselves with. The things that have always been there, are handed down, and make up the tangible and visible material that turns houses into homes. In this series they become poetic stand-ins for underlying emotions and the “unspeakable” that is unique to each family.

Although a personal inquiry, Abendlied reflects on the broader psychological components of identity, heritage and belonging. How are we shaped by the place we call home? What happens to us when we lose this foundational base? How does it continue to live inside of us, even if it ceases to exist in its physical form? Can it be replaced? These questions are an essential byproduct of our human condition, and even though individual answers may vary, we are undeniably united as humans by the fact that the place we come from leaves a fundamental imprint on us.

In the press:
TIME Best Photobooks of 2019
Strange Fire
Ciel Variable
Photo District News
Burrard Arts

AUTHOR: Birthe Piontek
TITLE: Abendlied
ISBN: 978-0-9985180-7-7
112 Pages, 70 images
180x250x21mm, 680 grams
EDITION: 500; First edition, first printing

Birthe Piontek (b. Germany) received her MFA from the University of Essen in Communication Design and Photography.

Piontek’s art practice explores the relationship between memory and identity, with a special interest in the topic of female identity and its representation in our society. Her main focus is photography but she also utilizes other art forms like installation, assemblage and collage to investigate to what degree our complex identities can be visualized.

Her work has been exhibited internationally, in both solo and group shows, and is featured in many private and public collections such as the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and the Museum of Applied Arts in Gera, Germany.

Birthe's project The Idea of North won the Critical Mass Book Award 2009, and was published as a monograph in 2011. Her most recent work, Abendlied, received the Edward Burtynsky Grant and will be published in 2019.

Her photographs have appeared in a number of international publications like The New York Times Magazine, Le Monde, Wired and The New Yorker among others.

Birthe teaches in the Audain Faculty of Art at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver and is a member of the Piece of Cake Project.