Anke Stäcker’s photographic work creates narratives about her personal history from two continents.
Anke Stäcker was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1947 and migrated to Australia in 1988, first living in Melbourne and then moving to Sydney, where she now lives and works.
Stäcker uses urban streets and places, in recent years mainly from Australian cities, as a platform to translate her observations into subjective and emotionally charged stories.
In her urban photography she seeks out what she calls ‘zones of uncertainty’, derelict industrial or residential sites, wastelands, back lanes and deserted streets at night to interact with and overlay with her own perceptions.
She says, “I consider such places as uncertain because they are transient. They are not what they were before and not yet what they may become. This connects them to my perception of childhood, which is a time of transition and uncertainty, especially when you are born in post-war Germany. But I think uncertainty can be a good thing. It raises questions and offers opportunities for visions and imagination. There is an inherent freedom.”
In recent years Stäcker’s practice has turned to the construction of dioramas with dolls, toys, found or fabricated objects and bits of nature which she then photographs. She regards these scenes as miniature film sets where the dolls play out a particular narrative, based on Stäcker’s personal history and preoccupations.
She has used this method for her investigations about childhood memories in post-war Hamburg to re-enact and reinvent experiences and impressions from that time.
For her solo exhibition at Kensington Contemporary in October 2016 a new generation of dolls was playing a part in a dystopian fantasy land. The series Other Worlds depicts a future or parallel world where a group of girls are trying to find their way and encounter various adventures.
Stäcker obtained a Master of Visual Arts from the Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney in 2000. She has exhibited her work in numerous group and solo shows, sometimes acting as a co-curator. She has a particular interest in collaborating with artist-run spaces with experimental and innovative agendas. She participated in the progressive group show Ferret at Articulate project space, Sydney in 2018 and in Ferment in 2019.
In November 2017 she was selected for the exhibition Realising Mother which investigated maternal realities through photomedia and took place at Kudos Gallery in Sydney.
She has been a finalist in various prestigious Australian award exhibitions, including the Helen Lempriere Travelling Award, the inaugural ‘Sydney Looking Forward’ exhibition in Hyde Park, Sydney, now renamed ‘Australian Life’, the Alice Prize from the Alice Springs Art Foundation, the Sunshine Coast Art Prize and the Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award.