03.11.07 - 03.12.07

6.10.06 - 29.10.06

I sleep very well
2.9.06 - 1.10.06


4.08.06 - 26.08.06

Amish Friendship Cake
30.06.06 - 30.07.06



David Krepfle

06.10. - 29.10.06
gallery picture

It's a familiar scenario: artists settle into an abject and neglected part of the city, revive the area, and make it hip. Gradually people seeking the appearance of a bohemian lifestyle, facilitated by real estate speculators, appropriate the area and the cost of rent skyrockets. The artists are evicted, and the neighborhood becomes a superficial shell of its former life.

The exhibition 'DUMBO' by David Krepfle offers insight into the experience of this process. For fifteen years, David lived in the intimate neighborhood of DUMBO, which is an acronym for 'Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass', located in Brooklyn at the base of the Manhattan Bridge, directly across from the southern tip of Manhattan.  He established a home and studio there when it was a isolated industrial wasteland and remained until this past summer, when he and his fellow tenants were forced to leave. The neighborhood is now shanty of 'luxury' million dollar condos, boutiques, and design chain stores.

In anticipation of the changing atmosphere and depletion of artists from his neighborhood,  David acted upon a spontaneous instinct and began to document the faces of the people he personally got to know over the years.  Within six days, it evolved into a series of two hundred and fifty portraits that tell the story of a neighborhood, one person at a time.  It was his way to say goodbye, his parting shot, that became a poignant representation of the loss of community, an increasingly ubiquitous trend in the urban landscape.

After splitting his time between Brooklyn and Friedrichshain, a neighborhood that was formerly in East Berlin, David has chosen to make it his new home.

 'My first experience in Friedrichshain was the sense of community, the instant friendships and warmth of the people, the support I received for my work by local galleries, and the enthusiasm of other artists'

It has been eighteen years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the city is rediscovering itself; rebuilding with a powerful memory of the past and swelling hope for the future. But within this boom of rejuvenation there looms the question of gentrification and the fate of the artists who live and work in once repressed neighborhoods that are now on the cutting edge. Will Friedrichshain go the way of DUMBO?

The most salient quality of David's photographs of his former neighbors and friends is their piercing transparency that candidly reveal the essence of his subjects. Such a quality is not possible without empathy and affection. To have empathy is to see yourself in other people and to see them in you. It is a reflection that one can touch. Are these faces indeed our own?

text: Sono Oskato