HUMPELFUCHS—Bastian Thiery

“The flâneur wanders restlessly through the city like an untamed beast. He succumbs to the crowd like a wreck to the waves, letting himself be overcome by the liberating breath of anarchy.”
– Federico Castigliano, Flâneur: The Art of Wandering The Streets of Paris

As an ode to our beloved Neuköllner Weserkiez, we are excited to present you Humpelfuchs, a collection of new photographs by local artist Bastian Thiery. Like early 20th century analog photographers such as Arthur Fellig (better known as Weegee), Thiery prefers to take his snapshots with a bright flash, capturing whooshing glimpses of the neighbourhood at night: its detritus and denizens; its pets and scavengers; its trees, limbs washed out and gangly, engulfed in an open mouth of black.

The project of Humpelfuchs was instigated when Thiery set out to find a limping fox he had seen in Weserkiez, and the result is everything else he spotted along the way. Moving through his images gives the sensation of following behind him at a close distance on his evening prowl, not unlike the quiet footsteps of the titular fox, who crouches closer to the camera than almost any other of Thiery’s subjects. The world he presents us is dramatic: fragments of observation, illuminated occasionally and –– based on the candid poses of his subjects –– without warning; a quick crackling light that fades, as abruptly, into darkness. This gives Thiery’s mission –– to track down the fox, and “capture” it, even photographically –– a sort of “crime scene” feeling; pulpy snapshots of the mundane, rendered meaningful.

Complicating this are moments of understated softness, peppered between rumpled masks and glaring cat eyes: a car, resplendent in shiny bows and plastic pink flowers; a young girl blowing bubbles on her balcony. Humpelfuchs (Limping Fox) continues our mission at Weserhalle to highlight local artists, now bringing our project quite literally close to home: guests to our exhibition may notice some familiar faces. At night, we will exhibit this collection via projections on our gallery windows, offering one neighborhood artist’s portrait of these very same streets as an ephemeral mirror, of sorts, to our community.

Bastian Thiery is a German photographer living in Berlin. He was trained first at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York (2014), followed by Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie in Berlin (2018). His book, Humpelfuchs, was shortlisted for the Fotobookfestival Kassel Dummy Award and La Fabrica & London Dummy Award in 2019, during which time he also was among the winners of the Vonovia Award für Fotografie.

—Text by Eliza Levinson