Martin Mlecko


Martin Mlecko was born in 1951 in Essen and passed away in 2016 in Berlin, Germany. He was an investigative artist working in a range of media, continually seeking the inherent beauty in objects and his subjects. He was both a traveler and observer, sometimes also a seeker. His photographic oeuvre is a collection of series without itself being serial in structure. Among his art forms are large-format arrangements and small-scale documentation, both representational and abstract. His photographs were shown not so much as observations of reality, but rather as expressions of moods. Mlecko traveled extensively and often found inspiration in his surroundings be it on a container freight ship in the middle of the ocean or the streets of Paris. He was inspired by the people around him and conversations or chance encounters often triggered the start of new work.

Mlecko’s work with found objects and his choice to exhibit his work in unconventional spaces such as a neighborhood pub in Berlin or the white-tiled changing room of a closed mine can be attributed to his conceptual thinking. He searched for authenticity and often multiple viewpoints on a subject were represented. He was a socially conscious person who highlighted inequality by bringing it to the foreground of his work or by giving space to those underrepresented. Kay von Keitz wrote about Mlecko: “Places and atmospheres, encounters and stories are photographed, drawn and described in writing, from which he derived his visual images. He used sweeping gestures, at times including pathos, visual language in the form of parable or allegory as appropriate ways of enhancing emotional clarity.” Mlecko looked for joy in the small things, he searched for beauty and found it all around him in everyday objects. 

Martin Mlecko taught staged photography at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee. His work has been shown among others at Sammlung Hoffmann, Galerie Jule Kewenig, DE; Kunsthalle Wien, AT, Bourouina Gallery. Together with Wolfgang Schöddert, he championed the work of other artists in their project space Loge, a former porter’s lodge in Kreuzberg-Berlin. 


Je ne sais quoi

Die Dinge des Lebens



Martin Mlecko, Prelude 073_2013
Martin Mlecko_Prelude_073_2013
Martin Mlecko_Prelude_288_2013
Martin Mlecko_Prelude 269_2013
Martin Mlecko_Prelude 275_3_2013
Martin Mlecko_Prelude_090_2_2013

Private Life


Solo Exhibitions (selected)


Private Life, Dorothée Nilsson Gallery, Berlin, DE


Den Rest muss dann jeder selber entscheiden…, Dorothée Nilsson Gallery, Berlin, DE


Gegen den Strich, Dorothée Nilsson Gallery, Berlin, DE


On the Lookout for Beauty, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, Stockholm, SE


Private, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, Berlin, DE


Die Sieben Weltmeere, Video sculpture in public space, Frankfurt, DE


still /LIFE, Galerie Pinter & Milch, Berlin Gewalt und Leidenschaft AJL Art, Berlin, DE

Les choses de la vie, Pavlov’s Dog, Berlin, DE


Photographie,  Bourouina Gallery, Berlin, DE


BEAUTIES and beasts, Kunstraum Denkpause, Hamburg, DE


Hysteria, Premiere, c/o Berlin, DE


Das kleine Glück, found Galerie, Hamburg, DE

BEAUTIES and beasts, Galerie Immanence (Goethe Institut), Paris, FR

Fetish No I, Galerie 1blick, Halle, DE


Family Affair, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, AT

Loge, project space at Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin, DE

Gewalt und Leidenschaft, Schauraum 1°, Berlin, DE

Ich glaube, part 2 of the Trilogy Liebe-Glaube-Hoffnung, Schauraum 1°, Berlin, DE

Von der Hoffnung, part 3 of the Trilogy Liebe-Glaube-Hoffnung, Heilandskirche, DE


Familienbande, Schauraum 1°, Berlin, DE


Über die Liebe, part 1 of the trilogy Liebe-Glaube-Hoffnung, Familienlokal Euler-Eck, Berlin, DE


BEAUTIES and Beasts, Boutwell-Draper Gallery, Sydney, AU


Die Dinge des Lebens, Galerie Jule Kewenig c/o Rudolf Springer, Berlin, DE


Nomaden, public exhibition on the station platforms of central station, Cologne, DE


Positionen – Venedig, New York und Köln, Kunstraum Balanstraße, Munich, DE

Positionen – 14.Mai 1995, Raum für Kunst F & M, Cologne, DE

Cadavre Exqui, Cologne, DE


Pater Noster, a room transformation with lectures by Boris Groys, Constantin von Barloewen, Paolo Bianchi and others, Hansa-Hochhaus, Cologne, DE

Group Exhibitions (selected)


Perceptions, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, DE


Invisible Past-pictures of a disappearing time, Galerie Johanna Breede, Berlin, DE

Kunst Is The People’s Project, plan 10, Forum aktueller Architektur, Cologne, DE

Überleben, w/ graft architects Aut, Innsbruck, AT

Zeigen – a project by Karin Sander, Temporäre Kunsthalle, Berlin, DE


Inszenierte Fotografie, Fototage, Wiesbaden, DE

Stand by your man, Filmmuseum Wien, Vienna, AT

Visions in New York City, short films and videos, curated by Maurizio Pellegrin, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY, USA


IN.SIGHT.OUT, Video Schau – Giardino del Guasto, Bologna, IT

ON THE EDGE OF LOVE, Sammlung Hoffmann, Berlin, DE

Stilles Leben, found Galerie, Hamburg, DE

Gemischte Gefühle, found Galerie, Hamburg, DE


Was ist deutsch?, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg, DE


Über die Liebe, Euler Eck, Berliner Liste 05, DE


Heimweg, Galerie Zink & Gegner, Munich, DE

Heimweg, Galerie Martin Kudlek, Cologne, DE


Private, w/ Christian Boltanski, Gordon Matta-Clark, Pat Naldi & Wendy Kirkup and Thomas Ruff, KulturAllianzen, Cologne, DE


Les Adieux, w/ o.a Christian Boltanski, Imi Knoebel, Katharina Sieverding, Rosemarie Trockel, Galerie Jule Kewenig, Frechen, DE

Waiting, Forum aktuelle Architektur im Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Cologne, DE

Die Dinge des Lebens, Galerie Jule Kewenig, Frechen, DE

Papier, w/ a.oMercedes Barros, Frances Scholz, Charles Worthen, Galerie Gabriele Rivet, Cologne, DE


Königswalde – Berlin, 1, Berlin-Biennale, plattform, Berlin, DE



Catalogue FIVE, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, DE 


Les choses de la vie (Die Dinge des Lebens), Corinna Weidner (pub.), Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld, DE


Smooth trippin, Edel Verlag, Hamburg, DE


Closed circuit, Ein Leitfaden zur Geschichte und Theorie der Medienkunst, Seite 698f, Slavco Kacunco, Logos Verlag


Heimweh, Corinna Weidner (pub.), Nicolai-Verlag, Berlin, DE


Lexikon der Fotografen, Reinhold Misselbeck (pub.), Prestel Verlag, Munich, DE

Private Life, Corinna Weidner (pub.), Prestel Verlag, München, DE

travel_log, Corinna Weidner (pub.), Mare Verlag, Hamburg, DE


Paternoster, Wolfgang Schöddert (pub.) with contributions by Boris Groys, Paolo Bianchi, Constantin von Barloewen, Cologne, DE

Z, Kay von Keitz (pub.), DE


Positionen, Wolfgang Schöddert (pub.), DE


Glück Auf, with contributions by Giancinto Di Pietrantonio, Andrea Pagnes, Johannes Stüttgen, DE


Oberhalb der Baumgrenze, with contributions by Friedhelm Mennekes, Bettina Pauly, Andrea Pagnes, DE


Martin Mlecko Arbeiten 1986-1989, Anderland Verlag, Munich, DE

Awards and Grants


British Council, Research Trip with the National Oceanography Centre,  Southampton, UK

Culturesfrance, Scholarship Paris, FR


Cite Internationale des Arts, Residency Grant, Paris, FR


7_seas Travel-log, Stiftung Buchkunst, Frankfurt, DE


Stiftung Kunst und Kultur NRW, DE

Collections (selected)

Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE

Museet for Fotokonst, Brandt, DK

Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK

The Swedish Art Council, Stockholm, SE