Helga Paris, Photographer


With around 275 photographs from the period of 1968 till 2011 – including numerous single frames and series shown for the first time – the exhibition of Helga Paris at the Akademie der Künste on Pariser Platz is the photographer's most comprehensive to date. It is the first retrospective of Paris' work in her home city of Berlin in 25 years.

Having lived in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district since 1966, Helga Paris (born 1938) began taking photos of people in her neighbourhood in the early 1970s. She found her photographic motifs in flats, pubs, break rooms and factory halls, or on the streets and in train stations. With a background in modernist painting, theatre and poetry as well as early Soviet, Italian and French cinema, the autodidact photographer has spent the last four and a half decades developing an extensive œuvre of delicate, nuanced black-and-white photography.

But she is not only a chronicler of Prenzlauer Berg. Helga Paris also has taken photos in Halle, Leipzig, Transylvania, Georgia, Moscow, Volgograd and New York. There, as in her local neighbourhood, she constantly explores how it feels “to be in history”, and how the respective circumstances are reflected at the most private level. Helga Paris's imagery has a particular poetic approachability, in part because it forgoes all ideological interpretations; her gaze suggests profound solidarity.

For the exhibition, the director Helke Misselwitz has designed a documentary film triptych, in which she makes it possible to experience how the life and work of Helga Paris are both interwoven and interdependent. Misselwitz traces a wide arc from the photographer's childhood to the present; from Prenzlauer Berg to sites around the world; and from Paris' close-ups to her farsighted vision.

Programme to the exhibition

7 Nov, 7 pm: Exhibition Opening
24 Nov, 12 pm:
Curator's Tour
5 Dec, 7 pm:
Archive Presentation
12 Jan, 7 pm:

Guided tours:
Wed 5 pm, Sun 12 pm

Guided tours in English: on 27 Nov and 18 Dec at 6 pm

Special guided tours: available in German, English and French; booking requiered: kunstwelten@adk.de, Tel.: (030) 200 57-1000


An exhibition of the Akademie der Künste in cooperation with
ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen)

Our special thanks go to the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung, which enabled the cataloguing of the living legacy and the production of new prints from three previously unpublished series

The documentary film triptych was made possible with funding from the DEFA Foundation and the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf



8 Nov — 12 Jan 2020

Tue – Sun 11 am – 7 pm

Closed on 24 and 31 Dec

Guided tours: Wed 5 pm, Sun at noon. € 3 plus exhibition ticket

€ 6/4
Free admission for under 19s and Tuesdays from 3 pm