On Wednesday, November 21st, iconic German photographer Sven Marquardt joined Polimoda People in Florence for a punk-infused Rendez-Vous on the zeitgeist of today.
Born in 1962 in East Berlin, Marquardt is considered a defining part of the emerging punk, new wave and arts scene of the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood in the 80s. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, he was ushered towards the reunited city’s rising nightclub scene, catalyzing his link to techno and forming a sonic base for a thirty-year (and counting) photography career.
Today, the East Berlin native is widely recognized as the ‘gatekeeper’ of legendary club Berghain, considered among the most famous and tough-to-please bouncers on a global scale. Beyond the door, Marquardt is internationally renowned for his alluring photography, noted for its queer punk aesthetic marked by the use of daylight, suggestive contrasts and powerful symbolism. From snapshots to the written word, he has also authored three books on art – Zukunftig Vergangen, Heiland and Wild Verschlossen – and released his memoir, Die Nacht ist Leben (The Night is Life), in 2014.
Marquardt is considered the only East Berlin photographer following the tradition of visual artists Arno Fischer and Sibylle Bergemann, though with a specific twist towards fashion. This artistic vision and cross-disciplinary work has led to a number of impressive collaborations with fashion brands and cultural associations, including Hugo Boss, Levi’s and the Goethe-Institut.
On the occasion of his Polimoda Rendez-Vous, Marquardt addressed fashion photography and the underground in East Germany, unveiling where fashion has informed his own work and his views on the state of contemporary photography.