Johannes Barthelmes

Johannes Barthelmes



In a good twenty years of organizing exhibitions for the most recognized museums and galleries worldwide (including two for and with Barthelmes at the National Gallery Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia and at the gallery "Space 2324"), I have rarely come across artistic personalities like Barthelmes. His photographs, portraits and nudes, are not only an aesthetic delight, they are an expression of love and reverence for the people Barthelmes captures with his camera. Art is always abstraction from reality and never an attempted copy of reality. Barthelmes' portraits and nudes are not flat reproductions. His portraits do not document faces, they capture the character of the person. His nudes describe the beauty of the female body as an aesthetic expression. Translated with (free version)

GERHARDT ENGELKING (Leiter Goethe-Institut Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) Bangkok, den 25.11.2002


His portraits are his way of making contact with his audience - a bit like a dialogue between two people. ...His faces are timeless documents of everyday people - from the sad old man looking forlornly at his empty bottle, to the contented fisherman in Penang, to the group of children huddled together at play, the photographer seems to have done more than justice to his protagonists. ...Barthelmes's photographs have a special kind of "energy" that doesn't just show the surface of a face. ...Surprisingly, fame does not play an important role here, especially for those who value quality photography

THE SUN - KUALA LUMPUR vom 30.11.1999 zur faces - Austellung

But these eight show interesting studies of the sprawling incompatible art practices in New Germany.... their potential leads into the new millennium

NEW STRAIGHT TIMES vom 29.06.1999 zur German Art of the 90's- Ausstellung

... because the women's gazes bespeak unmistakable pride and their exposed bodies are staged like architectural masterpieces.



The sensual, erotic perspectives in the fascinating photographs of photographer and musician Johannes Barthelmes are not only evidence of a well-tempered talent for skillfully depicting female beauty, but also an expression of a modern and sensitive view of the role of women in eroticism. Self-confidence, feminine strength and the courage to be self-ironic, as well as passion, devotion and seduction are essential elements in the artist's masterfully staged works, despite all their aesthetic appeal. Qualities, therefore, that are able to inspire and excite not only the male world, but also the one or other lady.


A master of nude photography!

TV BERLIN am 16.01.2002


Since the dawn of photographic art, lens creatives have focused their attention on cities and their inhabitants: not only because of the historical and cultural significance of this type of photography, but also because the urban landscape offers endless possibilities for artistic expression. In it, architecture and elements of nature such as rivers, trees and animals meet, as well as -as one of these elements- man as the protagonist of the urban environment. Taking advantage of these compositional benefits requires, above all, boldness, skill, and a masterful use of the camera.

We could experience these virtues in the exhibition of the well-known German photographer Johannes Barthelmes (born in Speyer, 1953; living in Berlin for more than 30 years). His works have shared the same spaces with those of the Cuban painter Bárbaro M. Reyes, "Pango" (born in Matanzas, 1971), in the centrally located Orígenes Gallery, opposite the Parque Central, one of the venues of the Havana Biennial already approaching.

In the exhibition, titled "Mente Desnuda", the photographer shows a compilation of images taken during his trips to India and Cuba. These are works that offer endless information about the essence of these two countries, so distant and so different from each other, and that the miracle of photography and curatorial work have been able to bring together to tell us about the life, habits, history and mentalities of these nations. The union arises primarily from the artist's interest in focusing his attention not on the beauty of the surroundings - which is nevertheless implicit in each and every one of his pieces - but on the marvelous ability to capture human landscapes full of everyday life.

. . . . . .

This artist implements his ideas, aware that each country, each people, each community has its own unique forms of expression. He accomplishes his craft with a complete mastery of techniques, evident above all in the masterful use of perspective and contrast: both in the color images and in the black and white ones, where he potentiates his originality to the extent that he plays with the means that place each landscape and individual in close up before his lens. It almost seems as if a sixth sense pulls the trigger - immediately at that moment when he intuits the expression of the individuals and groups he portrays - claiming to depict what is not visible to the eye. Barthelmes, who is also internationally known as a saxophonist and jazz composer (between 1975 and 1980 he studied music in Graz, Austria), reflects in his photographic work the life of the peoples, this great poor humanity that does not appear in the luxurious tourist catalogs.
. . .
It is a wonderful, thoroughly humanistic heritage that permeates the entire work of this unpretentious and sensitive master, who honors us through his art and his friendship.

JORGE RIVAS RODRIGUEZ, TRABAJADORES, 23.04.2012, HAVANA, CUBA (Translation: Johanna Richter)

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