Lukas is an artist. A storyteller. A conservator.
His work has been exhibited on 3 continents and has taken many different forms. His multi-disciplinary projects have been turned into films, chronicles and books. A large part of Lukas’ work deals with archival material he collects while traveling or while delving into his own background. These archives are not ambiguous nor are they found images. Lukas researches his imagery through investigations and explorations very often in areas that have been affected by conflict and have not yet had the chance to present existing material in an artistic form. His narratives tackle recorded history by creating alternate storylines and fictional elements, alongside commonly accepted facts. His created ‘archival artworks’ have little to do with institutional processes but rather center around personal stories, the desire to preserve their place in history, and Lukas’ own emotional attachment to them. His research in Afghanistan and the subsequent book, Afghan Box Camera, have given a voice to Afghan photographers and have inspired a global audience to keep a vanishing form of fascinating image making alive.
Lukas’ appetite for traveling was inspired by the many journeys undertaken with his family while he was a child. One of his earliest memories is riding a camel in the Valley of Petra in Jordan at the age of 4. In his teens he started hosting local radio shows and developed a liking for telling stories to a wider audience. He funded his Bachelor degree in Photography and Digital Arts by working as a news correspondent for German audio agencies and photographing for Time Out and other British magazines while living in London. It was there that he also conducted a physical experiment – making his home a mobile one for 12 months by moving his apartment into a van.
The materials and experiences Lukas collects through his extensive travels around the globe are transformed into everything from artist books to sculptural objects and are merged with his Polaroid images, prose writing, and poetry. His project Kafkanistan – a film, traveling exhibition, and book based on a mixture of documentary materials about tourism to conflict zones in the Middle East, was the starting point for this continued multi-layered practice. In x=y – an ongoing project conceived from another travel experience at a border crossing in Iran, Lukas has been exploring the concept of crafted identities…and using them on some of his journeys.
During the several years Lukas spent living in Beijing, he focused on gathering artistic views on China and creating platforms to allow for their expression. In 2009, he co-founded Viva Now! photo studio in Beijing’s Shunyi district. The same year, he co-founded the Austro Sino Arts Program and, 3 years later, Embassy of the Arts. The programs have published 5 annual books and have organized exhibitions, film festivals, and large-scale installations across China and Hong Kong. Lukas’ own emotional observations of a rapidly changing Chinese society were transformed into Polaroids from the Middle Kingdom, a book of images capturing a vibrant contemporary life using a filter of predetermined nostalgia.
Following his time in China, Lukas transported his organizational and curatorial pursuits to Yogyakarta, Indonesia where he founded SewonArtSpace – a residency program that hosts artists from his native Austria and other countries, creating a space for collaboration with the local arts-community.
Currently, Lukas is exploring his growing interest in preservation by means of curated artistic presentation with the Myanmar Photo Archive – an endeavor to re-interpret and tell the story of Myanmar through collected photographs taken over the last 6 decades. The collection now holds 10.000 images. His research on Burmese photographic culture has been published in Myanmar under the title Burmese Photographers.
He recently published Photo Peshawar, exploring photo culture in the city of Peshawar.
Lukas’ work is in private and state collections in Europe and the USA such as the Archive of Modern Conflict, Walker Art Center, University of Washington, Bainbridge Museum or Art, Lafayette College, Ringling School of Art and Design, Rhode Island School of Design, Austrian State Collection, Vorarlberg County Collection etc.