Roger Melis . Chronicler and Flâneur

Retrospective
March 06 2010 until May 02 2010
Foto: Ulrike Lachmann
Foto: Ulrike Lachmann
Foto: Ulrike Lachmann
Foto: Ulrike Lachmann
Foto: Ulrike Lachmann
Foto: Ulrike Lachmann

“Roger Melis understood how to wait until the gaze shifted into the distance and the person became visible, selfcontained, revealing himself.” Christoph Hein Roger Melis was a chronicler and a precise observer of life in the world of East Germany: crumbling facades and rainsoaked cobblestone streets, confident workers, silent, mistrustful farmers, teenagers at the fair, coal delivery men on their cigarette break, pigeons keeping watch, daydreaming children, melancholy poets, and provocative artists. He was capable of reading his surroundings in detail, beyond the propaganda and state-run photojournalism.

 

As an attentive flâneur, he strolled the streets of London and Paris and wandered through Moscow, Warsaw, and Krakow. His narrative photographs often came about incidentally, seldom as the product of an intentional search. His photographic oeuvre covering four decades includes fascinating studies of specific social milieus, striking portraits, and photographic impressions of his journeys abroad. There is nothing spectacular in these often melancholy pictures, but they make the specific qualities of big cities, landscapes, and people tangible.