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Jeff Cowen

Berlin Works

© Jeff Cowen, Yuki, 2005. Digitalized by Farbanalyse, Cologne.
© Jeff Cowen, Yuki, 2005. Digitalized by Farbanalyse, Cologne.

Jeff Cowen’s inaugural exhibition in Sweden offers a fascinating look into his transformative Berlin years. The artist is internationally renowned for his intricate painterly photoworks that captivate the senses and push the boundaries of photographic convention. The exhibition presents more than 100 handmade silver gelatin prints, showcasing Cowen’s innovative art.

Abstract photo by Jeff Cowen
© Jeff Cowen, Untitled Berlin LXV, 2015. Digitalized by Farbanalyse, Cologne.
Abstract photo by Jeff Cowen
© Jeff Cowen, Untitled LXIV, 2018. Digitalized by Farbanalyse, Cologne.

On May 17, Jeff Cowen’s exhibition Berlin Works opens at Fotografiska Stockholm. Cowen was born and raised in New York City. He has devoted himself to photography since the 1980s, when he was working as a taxi driver while getting a degree at New York University. After living in Paris from 2001 to 2007, Cowen moved his studio and laboratory to Kreuzberg in Berlin, where his unique visual language underwent a period of intense development. The collection of art on view in the Berlin Works exhibition provides a representative survey of his Berlin period, which continued until 2023.


Cowen’s work explores the evolutionary potential of the photographic medium by mating the power of painting with the power of photography. His art borders on the intersection between reality and Surrealism, bridging the visible with the invisible, and the present with the past.

"Here we are given an up- close experience of Cowen’s experimental approach, which leads to completely unique works", says Mohamed Mire, Exhibition Producer at Fotografiska Stockholm.

Black and white girl lying down on a field of grass, closing her eyes
© Jeff Cowen, Charlotte 2, 2015. Digitalized by Farbanalyse, Cologne

Working exclusively with analog photography, Jeff Cowen often attacks his large format prints with various chemical procedures, mark-making, and brushwork, and they often include post-darkroom finishing techniques with painting and collage. His work is characterized by its three-dimensional, sculptural, and textural look.

“In troubled times, I believe art is a necessary reminder of the resilience of the human spirit. It is an honor to be able to show my work and share my love for the photographic medium here in Sweden and at Fotografiska,” says Jeff Cowen.

Berlin Works will be shown at Fotografiska Stockholm from May 17 to September 8. The exhibition is curated by Ellen K. Willas, and with Mohamed Mire as exhibition producer from Fotografiska.

The artworks are on generous loan from the MAP Collection Germany, which owns a significant body of work from Jeff Cowen’s Berlin period from 2007 to 2019.