Judith Samen was born in 1970 in Gladbeck, Germany. She was raised in large part by her grand-aunt, who spent her life cooking. Judith Samen began her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Muenster 1991, and in 1992 she transferred to the class of Fritz Schwegler at the Academy of Fine Arts, Duesseldorf, where she earned her Masters Degree in 1995. Her first solo exhibition of photographs took place in a snack bar in the Ruhr Area, where it was also possible to smell and to taste what was shown in the pictures. Samen’s next solo exhibition took place in various private kitchens in Duesseldorf in 1993. Judith Samen won numerous prizes for her work, including a BRITA Kunstpreis in 1999 and the Kunstpreis Muensterland in 2003. She has had exhibitions in museums and galleries, mostly throughout Europe. In 2006 she designed theatre costumes for the Schauspielhaus Zurich, in Switzerland. Judith Samen currently teaches fine arts photography at Kunsthochschule Mainz, Academy of Fine Arts. She lives with her family in Duesseldorf.
Photography plays a central role in the oeuvre of Judith Samen. References to Eat Art and a mental affinity to fluxus are other emphases, and Samen also works with installation, drawing, video and performance. Her artwork oscillates between two states of being: stage and picture. The images are strange hybrids of a classical tradition of portraiture, stillife or interiour painting. However, Samen carries these settings to extremes, the pictorial spaces in her pictures become stages of everyday life, in which she leaves enough space for the absurd to enter. It is the precisely staged, liminal area between tragedy and comedy, between real life and fairy tale, between existentialism and artificial construction that shines out of almost every work by Judith Samen, giving her oeuvre its unique character.
Feminist Artist Statement
Being a woman it is a natural course of action to me to construct my visual ideas on human life and body out of my individual and therefore totally female perspective. The way a human body appears on my pictures is often a visual maintaining of a ‘true’ depiction, to contrast with the way women are often shown in for example fashion photography. So I attempt to widen the pictures into a three-dimensional space by working with room installations as well. I often use stuff coming out of an apparent domestic context like basic comestibles or other additional household objects. While working with those things, also in my photographs, references do change through bringing them in new, unseen combinations. With creating such artworks I leave the viewers alone with those strong, visual impressions, which cannot be solved and which keep them thinking about human states of existence.