Future’s Past: Sven Marquardt Photography Exhibition

wim future poster

The artist, Sven Marquardt, returns to the Philippines for his first solo photography exhibition in the country. “FUTURE’S PAST” is a collection of black and white portraits that present an examination of humanity with intense themes running through the timeless images – 30 years in the making. This will be the first time this exhibition is presented in Asia.

The exhibition is laid out as a narrative, telling an intimate story about Berlin locals. Marquardt’s work suggests an inextricable connection between the future and the past, through his dark and dynamic photographs, mostly set in industrial spaces. Marquardt offers balanced compositions together with a delicate tension felt through the piercing stares of his subjects—as the focus of his works has always been on people. At different sites, he draws attention to the figures, which become strong and confident characters, or situations drawn by fragility, melancholy, and gentleness. Marquardt works exclusively in black and white, with natural light and analogue photo equipment. He deliberately maintains the tension and sees how the photos turn out only after the development of the film and some days of waiting.


Sven Marquardt was born in 1962, just a year after the construction of the infamous Berlin Wall. He grew up in East Berlin of the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR) and got involved in the punk scene during his youth. He ran into trouble with the GDR authorities often enough that soon, he was banned from Mitte, the city’s central district.

Marquardt began his career in photography during the early 1980’s in East Berlin. Photographs taken during the height of his involvement in punk offers an extensive documentation of GDR’s subculture at the time. After his education as a photographer and cameraman, he found a mentor in the person of Helga Paris. Herself a photographer and a social critic, Paris helped him shape his photography and find his own style. Starting out as a camera assistant and later as a fashion photographer, Marquardt found himself immersed in Berlin’s techno club scene, shooting images that capture the heart and soul of the era, of the subculture in which he himself was entrenched.

In addition to his creative portfolio, the name Sven Marquardt is synonymous to Berlin’s most exclusive nightclub, Berghain, where he had worked as a doorman for many years. A cavernous dance club, Berghain saw its popularity rise in the mid-2000’s propelled by its notorious exclusivity and strict adherence to good techno music. Within just a few years after it opened, people have been dubbing Berghain as the “mecca of techno music”. The association with Berghain, his photography, and his distinct appearance elevated Marquardt into a cult figure in Berlin.

Sven Marquardt has since been traveling around the globe for his exhibitions. He has published several books, worked with established brands and renowned institutions such as the photography school Ostkreuzschule and the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art.

“FUTURE’S PAST” is brought to Manila by the Goethe-InstitutPhilippinen, in partnership with the Yuchengco Museum. It opens on June 29th, 7:00 PM at the Bridgeway Foyer Gallery & Cone Room. The opening night, on June 29, will feature a short discussion and Q&A with the artist. The exhibition runs from June 30th to August 11th, 2017.


The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, promoting the study of the German language abroad, and encouraging international cultural exchange.