Tobias Zielony


Tobias Zielony was born in 1973 in Wuppertal, Germany. His critical approach to social documentarism makes him a most discussed artists in contemporary German photography. After studying Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport, Zielony entered Timm Rauterts’ class for artistic photography at the HGB Leipzig in 2001. His solo exhibitions have been presented at C/O Berlin (2007), Kunstverein Hamburg (2010), Folkwang Museum Essen, MMK Zollamt Frankfurt, Camera Austria Graz (2011), and Berlinische Galerie (2013). In 2014 he was selected for the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennial 2015. Tobias Zielony lives and works in Berlin.

Artist Profile


HD Video, 2’ 44”, sound with English subtitles
Text: Alexander Koch
Translation: Gerrit Jackson
Editing: Kimberly Bradley
Image credits: Courtesy: The artist and KOW, Berlin, © Tobias Zielony

Some stories sound fictional, but the fears and events behind them are certainly genuine. In 2014 the residents of a refugee home in a former high school in the Moabit neighborhood of Berlin told Zielony that they heard voices and saw ghosts in the showers at night. As it turned out, one of the city’s largest synagogues had once stood nearby, as had a railway station where Jewish citizens had been herded onto trains to the concentration camps. Zielony conducted interviews and shot footage he assembled into a film (Ghosts, 2016). Voices sometimes speak up when we least expect them to, and even when we hear them – some of us prefer not to – we do not always believe what they tell us. Zielony’s film captures the fear and anxiety that the barrier between the past and what is happening today might be lower than common sense likes to imagine.