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Biography

Mika Sperling

Mika Sperling

Mika Sperling is a lens-based artist currently living and working between Hamburg and Frankfurt in Germany.
She was born as the youngest of eight children in Norilsk, a mining city in Northern Siberia
where her family lived for 20 years before they migrated to Germany in her first year of life.
She studied photography and book design at the Hochschule Darmstadt and FH Bielefeld
and graduated with a MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2018.

In her work she engages questions drawn from her own childhood and through that explores
the feelings that come with family life with a highlight on trauma and taboos. Her images are
often accompanied by titles that carry additional information about the story or her own voice.

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2023 Marseilles FR, Théâtre des Chartreux with play based on script Je n’ai rien fait (March – April)
2022 Fotoraum Cologne, Brothers and Sisters (September – October)
2021 Lucerne, CH Ahoi Space, Mother Tongue (August – October)
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)
2023 Darmstadt Days of Photography, I Have Done Nothing Wrong (April – May)
2023 Künstlerhaus Sootbörn (tba)
2023 Westwerk (tba)

2022 Louis Discovery Award Rencontres d’Arles, I Have Done Nothing Wrong (July – September)
2022 Vorwerkstift Galerie 21 (April)
2022 Capitis Gallery Hamburg (December – March)
2021 Kunsthaus Hamburg, Mother Tongue (December – January)
2021 Amsterdam, Mother Tongue Foam Museum (June – September)
2020 Frankfurt, Mother Tongue Fotografie Forum Frankfurt – recommended Fellowship (August – September)
2020 Hamburg, Before You, Above the Circle Frappant (June – July)
2020 Hamburg Mother Tongue Deichtorhallen (May – August)
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, Embark Gallery (August – October)
2018 San Francisco, US Before You, Above The Circle Fort Mason Center of the Arts (May)
2018 San Francisco, US Brothers and Sisters SFO & Photo Alliance (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, Walter Mc Bean Gallery (April)
2016 Modena, IT Brothers and Sisters European Photography Award 2016 1st Prize (June – July)
2015 Darmstadt, GER Brothers and Sisters, 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 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
2022 Arles, FR – Artist Talk Rencontres d’Arles
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, FR – Lecture at LeBoudoir 2.0 (July)

AWARDS & GRANTS
2023 Nominated for Merck Prize
2022 Louis Roederer Discovery Award Public Prize Winner
2022 Nominee Arbeitsstipendium Hamburg
2021 Zukunftsstipendium Hamburg
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 Eddie Adams Workshop
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)

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