Lukas Birk

LUKAS BIRK is an artist, a storyteller and a conservator. His multi-disciplinary projects have been turned into films, chronicles and books. A large part of Lukas’ work deals with archival material he collects while traveling or while delving into his own background. Lukas researches his imagery through investigations and explorations very often in areas that have been affected by conflict and have not yet had the chance to present existing material in an artistic form. His narratives tackle recorded history by creating alternate storylines and fictional elements, alongside commonly accepted facts. His created ‘archival artworks’ have little to do with institutional processes but rather revolve around personal stories, the desire to preserve their place in history, and Lukas’ own emotional attachment to them.

Lukas’ appetite for traveling was inspired by the many journeys undertaken with his family while he was a child. The materials and experiences Lukas collects through his extensive travels around the globe are transformed into everything from artist books to sculptural objects and are merged with his Polaroid images, prose writing, and poetry.

During the several years Lukas spent living in Beijing, he focused on gathering artistic views on China and creating platforms to allow for their expression. In 2009, he co-founded Viva Now! photo studio in Beijing’s Shunyi district. The same year, he co-founded the Austro Sino Arts Program and, 3 years later, Embassy of the Arts. The programs have published 5 annual books and have organized exhibitions, film festivals, and large-scale installations across China and Hong Kong. Following his time in China, Lukas transported his organizational and curatorial pursuits to Yogyakarta, Indonesia where he founded SewonArtSpace –a residency program that creates a space for collaboration with the local arts-community. Currently, Lukas is exploring his growing interest in preservation by means of curated artistic presentation with the Myanmar Photo Archive –an endeavour to re-interpret and tell the story of Myanmar through collected photographs taken over the last 6 decades. The collection now holds 10.000 images.

Lukas’ work is in private and state collections in Europe and the USA. His current camera of choice is a Polaroid Land Camera 195.

NATASHA CHRISTIA is an independent writer, curator and educator based in Barcelona.