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Rosemarie Zens is a writer and photographer living in Berlin. She studied biology, history and English. Teaching positions. Trained as a Montessori teacher. Doctorate in Modern German Literature in Munich on criticism of speech, social issues and the sciences. Studies of hermeneutic anthropology and psychoanalysis in Zurich. Psychotherapist in her own practice. Articles in academic textbooks and newspapers.

Publications of poetry and essays in individual volumes, anthologies, audio books and literary journals. Presentation of her photographic works in galleries and museum collections, in monographs and magazines.

Literary writing and photography have always been a part of Rosemarie Zens‘ life. She defines her poetic work as a political act, as a way of adopting a stance vis-à-vis the contemporary world. The focus is on the human condition. Our human existence transpires in dreams, images and language and links itself to events of contemporary history. The associated myths that open up one’s inward gaze and contribute to the social discourse as well as the collective memory of humanity. The innate dynamic of our imagination draws on the paradoxical nature of imagery and points to the contradictory truths about the way in which nature and history are intertwined.

To participate in an infinity that determines life through measure and deviation, rhythm and variation – that is the aim and the formal framework within which her poems, prose miniatures, photographs and essays evolve. ‘In search of a deeper beauty’, she writes, ‘that comes from an assumed congenial order of the individual parts and infuses our relationship to the world with a sense of composition and complexity.’ (Hidden Patterns, 2011)


Artists Statement

My artistic works are about the interaction of history and biography and about the importance of images for our self-understanding. These topics are based on my studies of history, literature and psychoanalysis, as well as photography. The understanding that we can’t help but live and think in images – this basic anthropological assumption – has become more and more apparent to me over the years and this refers to the photographic images as well as poetic compositions in words.

Through images we channel our curiosity for the unexpected. As we search for our place in the world, we follow our longing for existential reassurance. It is through images that we develop our powers of imagination and judgement. We use them to re-enact scenarios, just as we do in our dreams and in our thoughts. And in the best-case scenario – in the face of synthetic image and text creation by means of artificial intelligence – it is through them that we learn to assess the authenticity of the images and thus our position in the world; and at the same time understand ourselves as human beings, fragile kinds and seekers of meaning, in all our pain and doubt, our joy and gloom, our fears and hopes.


Monographs (Selection)

2023 Wait, Beloved Shade. 18 photographs, black cardboard slipcase, text (en/de), Berlin
2021 Moon Rabbit. The Chinese Journey, Photofilm, (en/de), Berlin
2020 Moon Rabbit. The Chinese Journey, Fotografie und Essay (en/de)
Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg
2017 As The Eye Wanders, Künstlerbuch, Fotografie und Essay (en/de)
Brave Books, Berlin
2016 Zugezogen, Flucht und Vertreibung, Hg. mit Roswitha Schieb
Schöningh Verlag, Paderborn
2014 The Sea Remembers, Fotografie und Essay (en/de), Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg
2013 Carousel of Time, Artist’s Book (en/de), Berlin
2012 Journeying 66, Fotografie und Essay (en/de), Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg
2013 Journeying 66, nominated Deutscher Fotobuchpreis
2011 Hidden Patterns, Essay, Gedicht, Fotografie (en/ en), Wortort, Berlin
2009 Vom Gesetz der Währung, Gedichte, Rimbaud Verlag, Aachen
2007 Eingeschrieben in Kohlenstoff, Gedichtzyklus, Rimbaud Verlag, Aachen
2006 Die Schöne das Fortgehen Der Ort. Gedichte über die Nacht, Audiobook, Berlin
2003 Siliziumherz. Tonbilder, Poetry and Percussion, Audiobook, Berlin
2003 Als gingen wir vorüber, Gedichte, Künstlerbuch, Aphaia Verlag, Berlin
2002 Lautlos. Regenatem, Gedichte, Künstlerportrait, Audiobook, Aphaia Verlag, Berlin
2002 Lautlos. Regenatem, Gedichte, Aphaia Verlag, Berlin
2001 Mitlesebuch Nr. 52. Gedichte Rosemarie Zens. Malerei Siegrid Müller-Holtz, Aphaia Verlag, Berlin
2000 Aus dem Logbuch, Gedichte, Aphaia Verlag, Berlin
1999 Museum Erde. Magazin, Gedichte und Prosa, KMS, Witzenhausen
1993 Gesundheit und Krankheit – Begriffe im Wandel der Zeit. In: Heilkunde versus Medizin? Gesundheit und Krankheit aus der Sicht der Wissenschaften. Hippokrates Verlag, Stuttgart
1990 Krankheit und Medizin im erzählten Text. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg


Exhibitions (Selection)

Solo Exhibition

2018 The Sea Remembers: Kommunale Galerie Berlin
2017 The Sea Remembers: Temporäre Galerie, Osnabrück
2017 The Sea Remembers: Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester/Boston
2013 Journeying 66: Galerie Photoplatz, Berlin

Group Exhibition

2022 A Chinese Journey, Löwenpalais, Berlin
2021 As the Eye Wanders, Listen to the Photographs, Hamburg
2011 Journeying 66: Neue Schule für Fotografie, Berlin
2008 At the Gates of Europe’s Youngest Island and India’s Oldest Soul, Seattle

Deutsche Nationalbibliothek