La condition humaine

How are we living together and what determines our shared lives? Where do conflicts and challenges arise? How do they affect our common experiences? These are the central questions the OSTKREUZ photographers had in mind while creating works for this exhibition.

A selection of ten positions illustrates the facets of human togetherness. Early works by the OSTKREUZ founders Sibylle Bergemann, Ute Mahler, Werner Mahler and Harald Hauswald from Germany’s pre- and post-reunification period are juxtaposed with series by the younger members Heinrich Holtgreve, Tobias Kruse, Thomas Meyer, Linn Schröder, Stephanie Steinkopf and Mila Teshaieva. The exhibition thus connects the agency’s formative years with contemporary positions and allows them to cross-pollinate.

Ute Mahler’s well-known series “Living Together” provides the founding idea of this exhibition. In her work, created between 1972–1988, she uses her camera to trace the feeling of community in the GDR in order to show how people live together and what determines their everyday lives. Finally, the long-term project “Die Abiturienten” (The High School Graduates) by Werner Mahler forms a synthesis of the preceding questions on the theme of living together. How do disruptions and exceptional experiences change our lives, our togetherness and, ultimately, our view of the world?

Media coverage

La Ville de Mérignac poursuit son exploration photographique en accueilant à la Vieille Église le travail des membres de l’agence allemande Ostkreuz. Par son approche documentaire socialement engangée l’exposition »La condition humaine« s’interroge sur ce que les hommes partagent, ce qui nous différencie, nos interactions avec le monde et les autres.

Son équivalent français se rapproche de Magnum Photos fondé en 1947 par Henri Cartier-Bresson et Robert Capa. Avec à son actif vingt-deux membres de générations et d’origines variées, Ostkreuz déroule une palette artistique effervescente où se croisent dans une veine humaniste les thèmes de l’urbanisation, du quotidien, de l’immigration sans oublier les bouleversements sociaux et politiques.

Installation views

Linn Schröder, Self portrait with twins and one breast

Stephanie Steinkopf, Manhattan

Thomas Meyer, Inside Stasi

Werner Mahler, Die Abiturienten (The High School Graduates)

Mila Teshaieva, Promising Waters

Heinrich Holtgreve, The internet as a place

Ute Mahler, Living Together

Tobias Kruse, Terminal

Sibylle Bergemann, P2

Harald Hauswald, Mainzer Straße



10 projects
172 pictures
varying formats and methods of presentation


Created in 2018 by OSTKREUZ for the Vieille Église de Saint-Vincent in Mérignac.
Realized in collaboration with Goethe-Institut Bordeaux and the Mairie de Mérignac.

Exhibition history

Vieille Église de Saint-Vincent, Mérignac, France,
1/13 – 3/25/2018


Kathrin Kohle
Exhibition Management