Born in Halle in 1978, currently living in Berlin and Potsdam. Studied applied social sciences. Attended classes at the Evening Academy of Leipzig Academy of the Visual Arts and studied at Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie in Berlin. Sven Gatter was short-listed for the Peter Christian Schlüschen Award and the Opus Photography Award.
Sven Gatter’s works of portraiture depict people from the former territories of East Germany. His subjects share the collective memory of the crises that followed in the wake of the political upheavals of 1989 and the dramatic economic and demographic shifts that affected their regions and compelled them to renegotiate their notions of identity and belonging against a new background. On the whole, Gatter chooses to portray his protagonists in places where they frequently spend their recreational time. His series Kohlenschläger (since 2010) took him to the town of Schlotheim in Thuringia. There, local men meet on Good Friday at Easter to play a traditional game of Kohlenschlagen (literally ‘hitting the coal’), in which participants hit a wooden ball across nearby country fields. Many of the town’s former residents return each year to participate in this ritual and reaffirm their ties to the town. In Goitzsche (2010-2015) Gatter examines the construction of local identity in his home town. Until the early 1990s Goitzsche open-cast coal mine was the primary producer of coal for the industrial centre of Bitterfeld. Today, the site has been transformed into a tourist resort. A similar transformation of regional identity occurred at many former industrial centres in East Germany. Gatter’s exploration of this landscape, which he roams frequently with his camera on foot and by bicycle, began with portraits of older and younger people at festivities such as the Goitzsche Festival. In time the series’ scope widened to include forest pathways, still-life images of flowering shrubs along with bungalows and other built structures. Gatter himself has characterized the images as “subjective, native, and informed at once by a sense of affection and reserve.”
Image 1: „Hütte“, image 2:„Pfad, Muldewiese“, image 3: „Zwei Langstreckenschwimmer“, series „Goitzsche“, 2010-2015
Film // directed by: Dörte Grimm * camera: Martin Jörg * cut: Nadja Smith * sounddesign: Frieder Nagel * production: Nadja Smith