In summer 2021, the Museum Folkwang in Essen showed the work of Tobias Zielony in a large survey exhibition, featuring photographs and video work from the last twenty years. One of the key themes in Zielony's artistic work is youth culture, its relationship to background, status, and fashion, and the definition of identity associated with this in a realm where the realities of the medium are shifting. Digital culture has revolutionied the ways in which photographic images can communicate, fundamentally altering the idea of the self and self-representation. In Zielony's works, the subjects of his pictures appear as self-aware participants in this process of interaction – engaging in a global exchange of social codes and self-images, irrespective of the cultural and social differences between the people involved.
Spector Books has consistently supported Zielony's work from the start of his carrier. In 2008 we publishedTrona, now in its third edition, followed byManitoba(2011),Jenny Jenny(2013), andVele(2014). This sustained process of close collaboration has given rise to an unusual idea for the catalogue for the Essen exhibition. It was published as a series of six small volumes, each showing two to four works in full and accompanied by a text that creates a counterpoint to these works in the form of an essay or piece of fiction. Six protagonists of the new literary generation – Sophia Eisenhut, Joshua Gross, Dora Koderhold, Enis Maci, Mazlum Nergiz, and Jakob Nolte – Have agreed to take part in this project.