Biography

Mika Sperling

Mika Sperling

Mika Sperling is a photo-based artist currently living and working in Hamburg, Germany.
She was born in Norilsk (1990) a mining city in Northern Siberia where her family lived for 20 years.
In 1991, her family migrated to Germany. She received her Diploma from the University of
Applied Science in Darmstadt in Communication Design in 2015 and went to the U.S with a
Fulbright and DAAD Scholarship to pursue her MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2018.

Her practice is based in photography, video, writing and sound and engages ideas and concepts
of family and language. Her work has been primarily biographical where she explores her own
experience as one of eight children to understand the complexities of multiculturalism, identity
and place.
When she returned to her birthplace Norilsk in early 2018 to start her project Before You – Above the Circle
she soon found out to be pregnant with her first child. Suddenly her work and personal life merged
together and would lead to a solo exhibition at the Aggregate Space Gallery in Oakland, overlapping
with her child’s birth. After her return to Germany in 2018 she was selected for the recommended
fellowship and started the work Mother Tongue which is currently on display at the House of Photography / Deichtorhallen in Hamburg.

01/2020

EDUCATION

2016 – 2018
Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art at the San Francisco Art Institute

2015 – 2016,
Studies of Photography in the Master of Arts Program at the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld in Germany

2009 – 2015
Diploma in Photography & Communication Design at the University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt in Germany

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2018 Oakland, US Before You, Above The Circle Aggregate Space Gallery (September – November)
2017 Swell Gallery Strange Stirring (October)
2017 San Francisco, US Six Sisters, Chapter I Still Light Gallery, (April)

GROUP EXHIBITIONS (SELECTED)

NOW:
2020 Hamburg,
Mother Tongue Deichtorhallen – recommended Fellowship (March – June) watch trailer

UPCOMING:
2020 Hamburg, Before You, Above the Circle Frappant (June – July)
2020 Amsterdam, Mother Tongue Foam Museum – recommended Fellowship (October 2020 – January 2021)
2020 Frankfurt, Mother Tongue Fotografie Forum Frankfurt – recommended Fellowship (August – September)

2019 San Francisco, US Before You, Above The Circle Clyde and Co Award Show (May 2018 – December 2019)
2018 San Francisco, US Brothers and Sisters SFAI Alumni Show, Diego Rivera Gallery, (November)
2018 San Anselmo, US Before You, Above The Circle Bay Area Currents Show, Smith Andersen North Gallery (August – September)
2018 San Francisco, US Before You, Above The Circle Taking Temperature, Embark Gallery (August – October)
2018 San Francisco, US Before You, Above The Circle SFAI MFA Graduate Show (May)
2018 San Francisco, US Brothers and Sisters SFO & Photo Alliance, Home Show (May – August)
2017 San Francisco, US Six Sisters Diego Rivera Gallery, (September)
2017 Emden, GER Brothers and Sisters Kunsthalle Emden (May – November)
2017 San Francisco, US Brothers and Sisters Annual Artist Book Contest, Walter Mc Bean Gallery (April)
2016 Modena, IT Brothers and Sisters European Photography Award 2016 (June – July)
2015 Darmstadt, GER Brothers and Sisters Junges Gemüse, Faculty of Design (November)
2015 Gallipoli, IT Italian Family Bitume Photofest (September)
2015 San Francisco, US Brothers and Sisters 50 LensCulture Emerging Talents 2015 (August – September)
2015 Pelci, Kuldiga, LVA Workshop with Alessandra Sanguinetti Final Exhibition of ISSP (August)
2015 Kuala Lumpur, MYS Brothers and Sisters International Photoawards (August)
2015 Wiesbaden, GER Brothers and Sisters Days of Photography in Wiesbaden (June – July)
2015 Darmstadt, GER Brothers and Sisters I like my Diploma h_da (February)

TALKS & LECTURES

2019 Darmstadt, GER – Artist Talk at h_da University of Applied Science
2018 Oakland, CA US – Saturday Morning Artist Talk at Aggregate Space Gallery (October)
2018 Norilsk, RU – Artist Talk Polar Art (January) 
2017 Arles, France – Lecture at LeBoudoir 2.0 (July)

AWARDS & GRANTS

2019 Olympus recommended Fellowship
2018 Headlands Graduate Fellowship, Finalist
2018 Critical Mass Finalist
2018 John Collier Award
2018 Paul Sack Building Award, 1st Place Color
2018 Photo Alliance Award for Service to the Community
2018 Clyde & Community Art Awards
2018 Anne Bremer Memorial Library, 35th Artists‘ Book Contest Prize
2017 DAAD Scholarship for MFA at SFAI
2016 Fulbright Scholarship for MFA at SFAI
2016 SFAI Fulbright Fellowship
2016 European Photography Award
2015 One of 50 LensCulture Emerging Talents
2015 Nominated for the Joop Swart Masterclass, organized by World Press Photo

COLLABORATIONS

2018 Carlsbad, NM – Resolana, San Francisco-based collective Ojalá, Carlsbad Museum & Art Center (May)
2018 San Francisco, US –The Emergency Has Been Everyday, Diego Rivera Gallery (April)
2017 San Francisco, US – Fully Automatic Exercise Notebook Machine SFMOMA (May)