via route 66, Los Angeles, to the boarder of Mexico. Sarah-Johanna Eick often travels to the United States, and one of her favourite places there is California, with its huge expanses of landscape that also give free rein to freedom of thought. The German photographer brings together the theme of spatial and mental freedom with her exploration of many of those clichés that flood our collective imagination when we think of the American West Coast, things like the gold rush, John Steinbeck books and Hollywood . Sarah-Johanna Eick takes photos of the present reality, then carefully puts together her images and uses colour to take you back to the past, making them look almost like movie sets. Sarah-Johanna Eick knows this area inside out, and she believes that this present reality is about to disappear, so she decided to use her camera to keep a record of it, knowing full well that “all images interpret rather than laying automatic claims to the truth”, as Fred Ritchin writes in “Bending the Frame”. By sharing her photos with us, she is also sharing her love for these boundless spaces, where the presence of humans is manifested in ordinary architecture, in simple materials, in a few signs: the backdrop for our films. Sarah Johanna Eick’s work feels like an extended road trip. Since 2001, the photographer has traversed the United States in search of locations that have stories to tell. With a sense of nostalgia and a hint of irony, she presents drugstore facades, rows of houses, vintage cars and pickups; the unique colour and remarkable lighting make the scenes seem like daydreams of everyday American life. Although Eick’s tends to frame her photographs of small towns as partial views, she is still able to portray the sheer vastness of the landscape and bring the viewer closer to the infinite prairies. In the tranquil afternoon sun, short, narrow shadows fall upon the asphalt. Tilted signs with large letters promulgate the towns’ patriotism, shopkeepers and businesses. Eick captures this unique atmosphere, these sensational colours, on celluloid. Eick produces works that are captivating in their ostensible casualness and powerful narrative. More than anything, the photographer plays with American clichés. Most of her subjects are already familiar to us: places that have appeared in films, TV shows, and works by other photographers. However, they offer an alternative perspective – we have the feeling we are rediscovering these well-known places. After studying Art History, Philosophy, and Applied Cultural Sciences in Münster, Eick focused on painting. She eventually came to photography through her father, Hans Eick, who is a photographer and artist. Countless exhibitions soon followed, including at the Museum für Kommunikation in Berlin, Galerie König in Münster, and the Red Arrow Gallery in Joshua Tree, California.
She is represented by Galerie Lumas.