Architecture / Industry | Winner

Sebastian Mölleken

Oberhausen/Germany www.moelleken-fotografie.de

Kitchen in a home for asylum seekers

Concept

This series from an extensive photographic project documenting life in a home for asylum seekers in North Rhine-Westphalia shows the kitchens of the institution.

I have been working on this series since 2009 and it has recently become a hugely topical subject again. Although the provision of accommodation for refugees is an ever-present issue, there is still much that must be improved.

The home bears the name Fliehburg, but there is nothing here that could make anyone think of a palace (Burg).

The kitchens are sparsely equipped with almost identical basic fittings and must be shared by numerous residents of the home.

The photographs of them are neutral and unemotional. Comparable elements like colour content and composition are reiterated from picture to picture. At a glance, viewers grasp the frugality of the accommodation in which refugees are housed. Only the bare necessities for a kitchen - nothing more.

Vita

Sebastian Mölleken has worked as a portrait and people photographer for advertising agencies and directly for customers since 2005. Whenever the opportunity arises, he also shoots freestyle portfolios that are subsequently shown in exhibitions. He is currently working on a project titled ‘Pottpromis’ (Ruhr Celebrities). The works depict prominent characters of Germany’s Ruhr region in close-up portraits of raw authenticity. He won the Felix Schoeller Photo Award in the category Landscape/Nature in 2013.

Prizes and scholarships

2013 Felix Schoeller Award in the category Landscape/Nature

2012 red dot Award

2012 C.A.R. art award (Contemporary Art Ruhr)

2012 Winning bid for shooting the ‘Kunstkalender 2013 art calender for the NRW.Bank

2011 Nominated for the DEW art award

2010 Scholarship from the RWE Foundation

Jury Statement

A temporary home for refugees. Kitchens in a home for asylum seekers. The ‘Fliehburg’ (Flight Castle). Nomen est omen. Although, for us, kitchens are often the centre point of family life, these show a complete lack of humanity and the possibility that it could ever exist. Sterile. Cold. Impersonal. Mölleken captures theses rooms in a decidedly matter-of-fact way, from a seemingly uninvolved point of view. Comparable elements like colour content and composition are reiterated from picture to picture. At a glance, his work illustrates the frugality of the accommodation in which refugees are housed. It is a long way from here to the kitchen as a warm and inviting focus of life. Documentary images that vividly illustrate what must be improved to ensure the success of integrating those who seek our protection in our society. A highly topical subject that will demand our attention for years to come .