In Memoriam Simone Gilges (1973–2023)

The boundary between the real and imaginary is not always the same, to decide about what is
true is a highly political issue and located in the center of power. Noone can know if the
world is an illusion or if there is any difference between dreaming and living. if reality
becomes more and more invisible, is the immaterial becoming more and more present ?

Simone Gilges

In her photographs, installations and sculptures, Simone Gilges worked with the possibilities
of transformation, transience and transition. In the exhibitions she conceived, the artist
combined autonomous works into clearly composed spatial installations.

Simone Gilges focused on the atmosphere and the invisible factors inherent in an image. The
theme of transformation runs through all facets of her work. She often processed her
photographic works - both by adding substances and by manually changing the surface. By using chemicals to colourise b/w photographs, Gilges expanded the photographic process in a painterly way and transcended the boundaries of photography. In this way, she also questioned the boundaries of pictorial space.

The freedom and openness in Simone Gilges' works invite the viewers to reflect on their own
position. Her works create their own time and their own reality, which at their core show the
possibility of a different, new society, a new attitude.

Since her early youth, Simone Gilges has portrayed her surroundings. After her studies in
Dortmund and Berlin, she acted in transnational groups and incorporated the pictorial
traditions found there into her complex pictorial and exhibition compositions. At the same time, many of her portraits depict a specific Berlin scene from the 1990s up to the 2020s, starting from "Galerie Berlin Tokyo" and her own space "Neue Dokumente", that she founded in 2003, and the associated fanzine "freier – Magazin für Befindlichkeit. Simone Gilges opened up spaces and organised autonomous exhibition platforms for artists who were particularly close to her heart. In this way, she created a constantly changing social safe space that was particularly characterised by attentiveness and openness. In this way, Simone Gilges and her collaborators overcame institutional limitations and opened their eyes to the possibilities of art beyond bourgeois prejudices.

Her artistic practice has always been based on collective processes and associations. Thus, the Honey Suckle Company, which Simone Gilges co-founded in 1995, was an important part of her artistic work for many years.

Until her passing, she worked on the experimental collective film project A Character's Quest for Spiritual and Material Accomplishments, which she developed in collaboration with artists from various disciplines and countries. In 2018, Gilges showed the 30-part wall piece
Dissolution between Reality and the Invisible (2015 to 2018) for the first time at KM, Berlin.
The work can also be read as a storyboard for the film. The project was initiated by Tim Voss
at Künstlerhäuser Worpswede as an African-European co-production and received support
from the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen and Goethe Institut Kamerun. Simone Gilges was
awarded the Berlin Senate's research grant for the development of the material.

Under her pseudonym SimGil, in addition to her own artistic work, she works as a
photographer and video producer, f.e. she produced music videos for the songs of the Berlin band Stereo Total, including "Ich bin der Stricherjunge" (I'm the hustler boy), which won the prize for best music video at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen in 2009. Simone Gilges wrote the scripts, did the editing and directed the camera. The public image of the band was significantly shaped by Gilges' photographs.

Short vita

Simone Gilges was born in Bonn in 1973 and died near Berlin in 2023. She lived in Berlin
since the mid-1990s. Her works have been shown in numerous international solo and group
exhibitions, including Correspondances, KM, Berlin (2023), Triennale für Kleinskulptur
Fellbach (2022), Portraits 1993–2019, KM, Berlin, Ascensions, Off Paradise, New York
(2020), Icons&Rituals, PiK Deutz, Cologne (2018), Dissolution between Reality and the
Invisible, KM, Berlin (2018), Portfolio Berlin, Kunsthalle Rostock (2018), I, You he/she/it,
Verein für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig (2016), Even in Heaven there are Holes,
Künstlerhäuser Worpswede (2016), Dakar/Berlin (with Mamadou Gomis), Goethe-Institutes
Maputo, Addis Ababa, Accra and Dakar (2012-2015), Foxy Production, New York (2012,
2009), Secret Societies, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt / CAPC Bordeaux (2011),
modernmodern, Chelsea Art Museum, New York (2009), Are you fine? (2011), Closed
Society (2008), freier is an adjective (2004), all Galerie Giti Nourbhaksch, Berlin.

Simone Gilges was a co-founder of the artist group Honey-Suckle Company. The group has
exhibited widely internationally, including Omnibus, ICA London (2019), non est hic,
Kunsthalle Basel (2006), ESWERDE, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart (2003), Children of Berlin,
MoMA PS1, New York (1999).

Since 2003 Simone Gilges published freier – magazine for mental state. freier is a b/w
magazine of a circle of friends based in Berlin between 1995 and today. It is edited and
published by Simone Gilges in collaboration with Honey-Suckle Company and invited guests
and can be located between Fanzine, Poetry in images and text, Artist Book, Photozine and is
also a platform with international exhibition and performance projects:

Simone Gilges, 2005
Photo: Heinz Peter Knes

Simone Gilges
Enlightment, 2015–2017
Analogue color print, chemicals, pigments, varnish
84 x 84 cm, Unique
Courtesy KM, Berlin