Tim Roeloffs was born in 1965 in Enschede, Holland. After finishing his studies, he began to travel around the world as a professional tennis coach. Starting in Switzerland, he went on to spend time in Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Egypt, before finally in 1992 he established himself in Berlin stating that “travel has taught me a lot about life”.
Riding his bicycle across the town, with his camera Nikon FM2 close at hand, he took pictures of buildings, streets, graffiti and people. His intention was to capture everything that caught his eye. His first pictures were in black and white, printed on a paper called ORWO, which gave the images a distinct yellowish hue. As he rightly says the paper gives an “old-touch” to his pictures. “The ORWO paper was old and cheap and gave my pictures nice yellow tone, old touch. It created beautiful grays, which Berlin is famous for.”
In 1994, Roeloffs began to get bored with just taking pictures, so he started experimenting with photo-montage. By adding carton, his work became three dimensional. Since then he has continued exploring this medium transforming his photos into unique pieces of art. “I make photo-montages and I’m very satisfied with the results. If I had money I would buy all of them,” Roeloffs says.
Nowadays, he is not only using his own pictures, but also images that he finds in magazines and newspapers to represent what Berlin was, is and will be. His tools are just scissors, a cutter and some glue. As he says, “I have never had money to pay models, so I use my dogs instead. They are always around me.”
Thanks to his beginnings as a photographer, his work reveals very competent compositions, which makes it hard not to look away.
“My work is like Berlin: funny, cheap, interesting and dirty, and this is how I see the city. To get new ideas and experiences, I just have to go outside. For me, art is nothing but shit from what I’ve seen, experienced and eaten. Berlin is like human being, a human being makes mistakes, is never ready, the only difference is that we die and a city goes on. So at least for me I see and saw Berlin as a University of Human History. The city is optically ugly, but if I would be an artist in Venice or Amsterdam… well these cities are optically so beautiful that I would just admire the beauty and forget to make art of some kind.”
Provocative scenes, political issues, doffing his cap to the city’s history, and much more is what we find in the compositions of Tim Roeloffs each one inspired by his own personal muse, Berlin. “In my photos I don’t say what is right or not, I just provoke questions. The viewers should find an answer to them.”
In the fall of 2008, the prestigious fashion brand Versace, created a collection with Tim Roeloffs based on his spectacular compositions inspired by Berlin and were shown at the international catwalk of Milan. That same year, Klaus Wowereit, mayor of Berlin at that time, named Tim Roeloffs as cultural ambassador of Berlin.
We feel very honoured and privileged to have this great artist’s work at the Klassenfeind Gallery.