Mischa Leinkauf – The hidden cityscape

Mischa Leinkauf's cross-media art practice consists of performative interventions, video works and photographs. The border areas between public and restricted or non-public spaces serve as sites for his scope of action. Playing with the hidden and forbidden possibilities of public space, he practices transgressions, appropriations and subversions of specific places through various interventions. Therefore, he creates situations and works that cause irritation and open up alternative ways of seeing and thinking. Mysterious, hidden places of the city, such as underground sewage systems with their tunnels and canals are alien zones belonging to early urbanism, which still continue to fascinate the artist. Perceived as contemporary caves, these subterranean tunnels invite us to reflect on the construction of the metropolis while representing the instinctive human longing to emerge from darkness into light. In the two-channel video installation As Below, So Above, Leinkauf reveals through his camera and an aesthetic of endoscopic shots, the tunnels, the utility sewers and storm water drainage systems of Berlin. Usually hidden and inaccessible to the public they become here visible and, above all, tangible in an irritating way. The photographic works from the photo series Endogenous Error Terms present examples of pictorial materialisation of a seven-year-long exploration of underground water channels worldwide. Leinkauf initially began the project in Tokyo in 2011, right after the great Tohoku earthquake (Fukushima disaster), providing an extraordinary insight into urban underground buildings, viewed from the inside out.


Mischa Leinkauf (b. 1977) studied at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM) between 2005 and 2011 and he was part of the artist duo Wermke / Leinkauf from 2005 to 2017. The duo’s and Leinkauf's own works have been shown worldwide at festivals, museums, galleries and exhibition venues, such as Ruhrtriennale, Manifesta 11, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Kunstmuseum Bonn, ZKM Karlsruhe, Moderna Museet Stockholm and Helsinki Art Museum. Leinkauf lives and works in Berlin.