Niklas Goldbach, born in Witten, Germany, lives and works in Berlin. After studying photography and video at the Unversity of Applied Sciences Bielefeld, he was awarded with a "Meisterschüler" degree at the University of the Arts Berlin in 2006. In 2005 he received the Fulbright Grant New York and majored in the MFA program of Hunter College, New York City.
Niklas Goldbach received several sholarships (i.e. Stiftung Kunstfonds Bonn 2010, Ber-liner Senatsstipendium 2013) and has presented his works in numerous solo shows, group exhibitions, and fes-tivals in venues like the Reina Sofia National Museum Madrid, Mori-Art Museum Tokyo, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Centre Popidou, Paris and the Short Film Festival Ober-hausen.
From 2012-13 he worked for one year as guest-professor for "Moving Image" at the University of the Arts (UdK) Berlin.
On Air: Niklas GoldbachThe ikono on Air Festival is showing the following films by Niklas Goldbach: My Barrio (2006) The video is the first in a series of videos about changes in urban culture and was filmed in the former eastern part of Berlin during the summer of 2004. Privatizing public spaces is undermining the social structure of cities. The function of the architecture shown in “My Barrio” is to represent economic rather than social interests. Only a single man is walking through these artificial fake-public spaces, where he appears like a foreign body. Through sound design, Christian Obermaier foregrounds the lost quality of the figure in places, sometimes stressing and caricaturing the architectonic spatial structure. Gan Eden (2006) The second in a series of videos about utopia in urban culture, GAN EDEN was filmed in 2005 in the pavilion of the Netherlands, built by MVRDV for the World EXPO 2000 in Hanover, Germany.
Meant as both a critique of consumer society and as an example of environmentally-sustainable architecture, the Dutch entry for the World’s Fair was an exploration of the idea of limited space, engaged with the question of whether increasing population density can co-exist with an increase in the quality of life, and what role nature will play in that dynamic. Abandoned at the end of the World EXPO, the pavilion has already fallen into disrepair. The video shows two men engaged in an ambiguous movement, both walking and cruising, through the space of this contemporary ruin. The Biblical word gan (as in GAN EDEN) means walled garden. "‘Gan Eden’, a video by Niklas Goldbach, inverts the relationship between architecture and nature. It was filmed in 2005 in the remains of the Dutch pavilion designed by MVRDV for the World Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany. The paviion was intended as a multi-level park but was left to decay when the Expo closed. Goldbach’s film sees two men cruising in the decaying pavilion as an act of re-appropriation. In a text in the accompanying catalogue, the architects celebrate the creation of a new ruin in this transition from utopia to dystopia. Overcome by nature, the pavilion became the park it had always aspired to be."
- Elias Redstone Habitat C3B (2008) "HABITAT C3B" was filmed in 2008 in the district of 'Front de Seine' (also known as Beaugrenelle) in the 15th arrondissement right at the South of the Eiffel Tower. The district, built in the 1970s, is a result of Georges Pompidou's at-tempt to modernize the city. It includes about 20 towers reaching nearly 100 meters of height built all around an elevated espalanade paved with frescos that can only be perceived from the elevated floors of the towers. Largely fall-en into disrepair, the City of Paris has launched a major project to renovate 'Front de Seine'. "Niklas Goldbach’s video HABITAT C3B explores a nearly deserted urban environment populated only by a handful of identical men engaging in an unknown mission. The clone-like characters chase one man that breaks from the group, recalling stock plot twists from science fiction. Produced at the main site of Georges Pompidou’s failed gentrification in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, the video chronicles the implied protagonist’s journey through a modern yet despondently barren cityscape. The sharp angles of the 1970s architecture provide a stark backdrop to the renegade man, whose simple, repetitive actions become laden with complexity as he encounters others who mirror him in appearance yet chase him through the labyrinthine architecture. The percussion of the footsteps intensifies as the video progresses and punctuates the otherwise still silence. Goldbach heightens tensions between fact and fiction and the ambiguity of reality with long patient shots. He produces a world that is both dystopian and hopeful – the viewer never learns if the outlaw man escapes or is brought back into the fold."
- Jennie Lamensdorf TEN (2010) “Niklas Goldbachs TEN (2010) is an allegory of the intransparency of the power elite. The gathering of a group of ten men, taking decisions over fate and doom in ambiguous rituals, oscillates between dystopic fiction and a relentless survey: freed from emotions or distinctions, the Ten, all of them one and the same person, are trapped between elite representational behavior and lethargic activities. The view behind the scenes of a summit meeting on a stage of a sterile and deindividualized luxurious suite including the tableaus of Athens by night, anticipates a climax of a fragile system of power, ultimately trying to preserve itself through the performance of its own iconography and traditional allocation of roles."
- Viktor Neumann
““Ten” was the number of the kings of Atlantis, but ever since the imaginary is-land disappeared, so Niklas Glodbach seems to imply, there is little difference between king and servant, or to put it more appropriately, in a globalized age, between businessman and waiter. With an ingenious technique, Goldbach multiplies the roles of the protagonist within a closed world, in which distinc-tions between masters and servants are permeable and unstable. Goldbach plays all the roles himself, creating rules and roles that remain transparent through gestures and rituals, the model of a micro-society strengthened in its rigor by silence and nonverbal communication, with glances and slow movements that organize the coexistence of this small world of symbols at the end of time." - Julia Draganović & Claudia Löffelholz BEL AIR (2011) “In his video works, photographs and sculptures, Niklas Goldbach questions the relation between hierarchic societal structures and individual, liberal courses of action. Goldbach ́s protagonists – dressed in the garment of the urban prototype in white shirts and black trousers and referred to as “representatives” or “placeholders” by the artist – colonize seemingly epic stages of modern architectural complexes, postmodern urban environments or alleged paradises defying civilization, all finding their commonality as places oscillating between utopia, dystopia and heterotopia, while lacking any clearance for an escape. Using elaborate post-production, in the video Bel Air (2011) four of Goldbach ́s representatives negotiate solely via nonverbal communication the various levels of hierarchal conflicts whose result can only anticipate evil. While letting his protagonists, all played by German award-winning actor Christoph Bach, act the entire repertoire of male body language as encoded by the media, the parallels to the schizophrenic psychological situation of the individual or the society he is born into are hard to ignore.” - Viktor Neumann
LinksHomepage: www.niklasgoldbach.de - Niklas Goldbach on Wikipedia - Feature at Hilda Magazine - Art on Air Interview
Other Videos by Niklas GoldbachNiklas Goldbach - "Empire: The Anticipation" Video Loop, 5:03 min, HD Video, PAL, Stereo, 2008. Published by Hilda Magazine. Niklas Goldabch - "HAUNT NO. 3" Video Loop, 36 sec., DV PAL, Stereo, 2007. Published by Hilda Magazine Niklas Goldbach - "Civil Twilight: The House" Video Loop, 30 sec., DV PAL, Stereo, 2006. Published by Hilda Magazine Video Interview with Niklas Goldbach for Le Monde flasher.com interviews Niklas Goldbach
Curators' SpecialPart of the curatorial selection of Nadine Samman