Christian Z.

In “Christian Z.” Stefanie Scheurell uses photography to explore the turbulent life of the juggling artist Christian. A character who repeatedly moves along the boundaries of social norms in his life – between healthy and sick; on a physical as well as on a psychological level. While the artist’s search initially focused on human abysses, madness and addiction, she often came across the exact opposite during her aesthetic research. For although the biography of the main character is “flawed”, it contains numerous hopeful moments and shows how a “reset” can succeed. Stefanie Scheurell translates her subjective impressions into an archive of photographs accompanied by Christian Z.’s autobiographical. Her personalised stories are intended to encourage us to enter into a dialogue together about borders, thresholds and how to overcome them.

(Lara Bader)


In her preface, Stefanie Scheurell writes:

I got to know Christian in the spring of 2019. We were practicing at the same gym. He practised  juggling while I was playing volleyball.

He is tall and has got a awe-inspiring presence in the room. I was amazed that he practised juggling despite a broken leg, striding through the gym with dignity - on crutches.

Instead of flowers he gave me chicory roots on our first date. The roots fascinated me as much as the person making the gift.

We talked a lot about his life and I began taking pictures of Christian’s environment. Having been artistically involved with the deadly sins in theory in previous months, I was now confronted with a real human being – dangerous, appealing and illimitable – who had been exposed to the struggle between light and darkness.

Diving deeper into his character and the stories of his life, I got entangled in various meanders and plunged into a network of mazy traces to fathom the incomprehensible.

Christian lives beyond any norm or standard. Due to his great intelligence he falls through the cracks. He synergises strength and inner void. Exhibiting his outer appearance, his interior is kept invisible and in secrecy.

How much harm was done to Christian and how much he did to himself and subsequently to others, is impossible to convey with pictures. Therefore, the photographic portrait of Christian is complemented by excerpts from his autobiography.