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Portrait I + Portrait VIII, Aus: Scentic Utah, 2016 © Stephan Bögel

C/O Berlin Talent Award 2017 – Shortlisted Candidates

Sep 15, 2017 - Simon Lovermann

As our official press-partner, Der Greif presents insights into the works of the four shortlisted candidates of the C/O Berlin Talent Award 2017. The winner, Stefanie Moshammer, will be presented in relation with her exhibition at C/O Berlin in spring 2018. The C/O Berlin Talent Award is the only prize of its kind in Europe which showcases emerging photographers and art critics under 35, accompanying them on their creative journey and offering a starting point for international exhibitions. The expert jury nominates the candidates for the selection process. As well as choosing the prizewinners in the categories of photography and art criticism, four participants will be shortlisted. These shortlisted candidates are presented in this article.


The jury comprised of Diane Dufour (LE BAL, Paris), Shoair Mavlian (Tate Modern, London), Aaron Schuman (freelance critic and curator, London), Anne-Marie Beckmann (Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation) and Ann-Christin Bertrand (C/O Berlin).

Couzinet Jacques, Eden 2015-2017 © Sylvain Couzinet-Jacques
New House, Eden 2015-2017 © Sylvain Couzinet-Jacques
Couzinet Jacques, Eden 2015-2017 © Sylvain Couzinet-Jacques

Sylvain Couzinet-Jacques – Eden

The work of Sylvain Couzinet-Jacques is one of ongoing reflection on photography and its representational character. His use of visual strategies and ways of thinking that span a range of media are essential to his artistic practice. Couzinet- Jacques’s works deal with themes of property, economic injustice, community, and capitalism—whether in images of the real-estate crisis in Spain, the uprisings of the militant Black Block, or in his long-term project on the historical building Eden in North Carolina that he purchased for 1,000 US dollars in April 2010. Particularly his artistic engagement with the small former schoolhouse Eden, built in 1884, underscores the historic questions he is grappling with in his work.

Born in Sens in 1983, lives and works in Paris. He studied at École Supérieure des Beaux- Arts de Marseille (2010) and at École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles (2012). His work has been featured at Le BAL in Paris, Fotofestival Mannheim-Heidelberg-Ludwigshafen, and La Galerie Particulière in both Paris and Brussels.

Joscha Steffens, Vader, 2014, Aus: GHOST / WARRIOR © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Zombie I (The Joker), 2014 Aus: Playground of the Undead © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Joscha Steffens, Diamondprox (21, Russia), Aus: Teen Spirit Island, 2015 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017

Joscha Steffens

His photographs and video works exist as images at the intersection of documentation, reality, and fiction. Often they deal with forms of staged and simulated violence: real war games with airsoft weapons, or parallel digital worlds and virtual battles that audiences of millions can watch online in real time. In these works, Steffens acts not just as a photographer and silent observer but in many cases also as a player. In his most recent project, Teen Spirit Island (2015), he followed young gamers from the League of Legends for more than three years—players who are among the elite of the gaming world, who live in gaming houses, tour the world like pop stars, and earn fortunes with their professional computer gaming. Years before this portrait series of pro-gamers in the MOBA (Multiple Online Battle Arena)—images of sunken faces, deep in concentration, illuminated only by the harsh light of computer monitors in surrounding darkness—Steffens created his series OPFOR–Wildboyz I–III (2011–12).

Born in 1981 in Waiblingen, Steffens graduated at Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig and completed the postgraduate program at Kunsthochschule für Medien in Cologne (2015). His works were shown at Unseen in Amsterdam (2016), the RijksOpen of Rijksakademie van beeldenden Kunsten in Amsterdam (2016), at Fabrica Braco de Prata in Lisbon (2014), the DZ Bank Kunstsammlung in Frankfurt am Main (2014), Kunstverein Heidelberg (2014), and also at the Vienna Photobook Festival (2014).

Zweig, Aus: Scentic Utah, 2016 © Stephan Bögel
Portrait I + Portrait VIII, Aus: Scentic Utah, 2016 © Stephan Bögel
Blumenbeet, Aus: Scentic Utah, 2016 © Stephan Bögel

Stephan Bögel

The photographer Stephan Bögel takes the viewer on an investigative journey in which he makes use of stylistic devices from documentary and reportage photography. Through his selection, manipulation, and (re-) combination of images, incorporating these together with found materials and written texts, Bögel creates new levels of visual narrative. Artificially illuminated forests, a taxidermy owl, branches in the darkness, details from an isolated town, gray houses, front yards, entrances and exits, garages and cars, old photos from a family album, alternating with vividly colored, grainy landscape photographs of the canyons and deserts of Utah: Stephan Bögel’s most recent book of photography, Scenic Utah (2016), is an attempt to come to terms with his father’s suicide.

Stephan Bögel was born in Münster in 1983 and now lives and works in Berlin. After his diploma in computer science at the Technische Universität Dresden in 2011, he was accepted as a PhD student. In 2012 he had a teaching assignment for interactive video installations at the Filmuniversität Babelsberg. In 2013 he started his photography studies at Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie in Berlin, where he graduated in the class of Werner Mahler in 2016.

Marie, 2015 © Mafalda Rakoš
Abdominal Girth, 2014 © Mafalda Rakoš
Katharina, Vienna 2014 © Mafalda Rakoš

Mafalda Rakos

The artist Mafalda Rakoš works in a documentary mode, exploring socially relevant and often sensitive themes. Her works range from portraits of students at the Lycée de Kafountine in Senegal in the series Il y’a des jours sombres (2012) and 3rd Generation (2013), a series exploring the conflicts in the Middle East, to I want to disappear— Approaching Eating Disorders (2015), a series dealing with eating disorders as life-threatening diseases affecting numerous young girls. At their core, all of these works revolve around human beings, their identities, and their bodies, which the artist documents photographically. She generally follows her subjects for many years to create an intimate perspective and establish personal relationships.

Mafalda Rakoš was born in Korneuburg, Austria, in 1994 and now lives and works in The Hague and Vienna. Rakoš studied Cultural and Social Anthropology at Vienna University and attended the Vienna Institute of Graphic Design and Audiovisual Media at the Department of Photography, and is now studying at the Royal Academy of Art in Den Haag. Her works were part of several group and solo shows internationally. She was awarded a fellowship by the Salzburger Sommerakademie (2013), chosen as a finalist of the Dummy Award in Kassel (2014), and nominated for the Shortlist of the European Publishers Award for Photography (2014).

About C/O Berlin


C/O Berlin is a charitable foundation that has presented, since 2000, a cultural program with an international standing. The exhibition venue for photography and visual media shows works by renowned artists, promotes emerging talents and accompanies children, youths and adults on their journeys of discovery through our visual culture.