Gallery exhibition »Bittersweet« : Photographs by Christopher Thomas

7 June - 31 August 2021

Ira Stehmann Fine Art cordially invites you to the exhibition »Bittersweet« from

7 June - 31 August, 2021 at the gallery, Prinzregentenstr. 78,

81675 Munich


About the exhibition

Ira Stehmann Fine Art is presenting the exhibition Bittersweet. On display are a selection of twenty photographs by Munich-based photographer Christopher Thomas, who is best known for his city portraits as well as his work on the Oberammergau Passion Play.


Bittersweet addresses two opposing, contradictory terms. When looking at the pictures, however, it becomes clear that the pair of opposites seems very suitable for expressing the unspeakable.


Christopher Thomas has taken the pictures for Bittersweet over the last ten years in various countries on several continents. Thus, he shows the viewer symbols that remind him of childhood and a sense of happiness: merry-go-rounds, ice cream cones, bubble gum machines, circus tents, fairs, cotton candy, wonder bags, roller skates, ferris wheels, tricycles, and more. These symbols are embedded in rural and urban landscapes. In most of the images, people are non-existent. We immediately think of our lost childhood, of spontaneity and immediacy. However, behind all the sometimes superficially seductive images lurks the fear of the loss of bliss and the undeniable power of transience.


Since time immemorial, the fear of death - a transition into a "dimension" unknown to us - has been great. In general, everything that smells of change is mysterious and sometimes threatening to people.


Christopher Thomas' pictorial worlds thematize decay and finitude. Places such as Chernobyl in Ukraine, which was scarred by the nuclear reactor accident, are changing. The artist photographed on site a child's doll amid gas masks left on the ground, empty cribs, and a hauntingly empty gymnasium. Abandoned amusement parks, whose formerly operating attractions such as roller coasters and giant representations of dinosaurs are already gnawed by the ravages of time, move into the artist's interest.


Many years ago, an English author reviewed Christopher Thomas' series New York Sleeps and wrote: "Thomas seems to be obsessed with the past." The author is right; in the new series, too, Thomas is preoccupied with places where something was and is no longer so, where something has changed. Even as a young boy, he loved going to folk festivals and beer festivals and returning to the place the next year and imagining how it used to be.


Christopher Thomas' Bittersweet recordings span the potential joy of life and the melancholy sense of loss.