Roman Kroke

Interdisciplinary Artist

Kroke’s drawings primarily originate from historical or literary sources (diaries, letters, poetry etc.) as well as biographies. Through visual metaphors he explores universal questions concerning the human nature, in particular with reference to psychology, philosophy and anthropology. Lecturer at the Berlin University of the Arts in “Experimental Storytelling”. Kroke’s artwork and interviews have repeatedly been part of documentary movies shown on the European culture channel ARTE ➢ online. Cooperative projects with schools, universities, prisons, museums, foundations and TV productions.

 

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Partners (selection): GERMANY ➢ Berlin University of the Arts; State School for Ballet and Artistry Berlin; Berlin Senate Department for Education, Youth and Science; German Resistance Memorial Centre; Berlin Centre for Political Education; Foundation EVZ “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” – US ➢ Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE); Yeshiva University HSB (New York) – FRANCE ➢ Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration (Paris); Académie de Versailles; German Consulate-General of Marseille; Mémorial de la Shoah (Paris); Académie de Montpellier – BELGIUM ➢ Mediel (Documentary movies for ARTE); University of Ghent  – SWITZERLAND ➢ Cultural and Educational Department of the Canton of Geneva; University of Teacher Education of the Cantons Bern, Jura and Neuchâtel; …

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Roman Kroke, born in Wilhelmshaven (DE), studied law in Freiburg (DE), Geneva (CH) and Berlin (DE). During his studies, he specialised in International Human Rights Law which inter alia involved working as a research assistant at the UN Centre for Human Rights and as a personal assistant to Prof. David Weissbrodt at the UN Sub-Commission in Geneva. This period also saw Kroke producing a photo-documentation for the NGO Solidaridad as part of a project against child labour in Quetzaltenango (Guatemala). He was awarded scholarships from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation with an emphasis on journalistic workshops. After several years working part-time as a lawyer and researcher at the international law firm Hogan & Hartson Raue LLP in Berlin, Kroke took the decision to leave the world of law behind and to devote himself to his artistic passion full-time. After this caesura, his first artworks are created in the emblematic Arthouse TACHELES Berlin. Following an artist in residence scholarship in Aix-en-Provence (FR), Kroke is currently engaged in art-projects in Marseille (FR), the European Capital of Culture 2013.

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The main pillar of Kroke’s artistic work is the illustration of historic events and biographies. His artwork is characterized by an interdisciplinary approach combining the arts with literature, history, philosophy, sociology and pedagogy. A special emphasis lies on exploring the organic relationship between the past, the presence and the future: In addition to the documentation of history Kroke works on the question of how it can be used as an inspiration and impetus to shape our presence and future. Among his leitmotifs range the metaphors of the frontier/border, the tree and the principle of intimacy.

Themes: the diaries of the Dutch Jew Etty Hillesum (1914-1943); “BERLIN intim”, an illustration series devoted to the history of Berlin; the Bielski Brothers (partisan group in todays Belarus, 1941-1944); “The White Rose” (German student resistance with Hans and Sophie Scholl, 1942-1943); the Vél’ d’Hiv’ Roundup and the biography of Sarah Lichtsztejn-Montard (1942); le Camp des Milles (Lion Feuchtwanger, Max Ernst, Karl Bodek), …

In these areas, Kroke is engaged in national and international cooperative projects with schools, universities, museums, foundations and TV productions (selection):

Exhibitions: Berlin House of Representatives (Germany), January 2015; Académie Montpellier (FR), Colloquium “50 years of the Élysée Treaty – 50 years of Franco-German friendship”, April-May 2013; Jewish, catholic and protestant communities in Speyer, Kaiserslautern and Neustadt (DE), travelling exhibition as part of an inter-confessional-dialogue, April-May 2012; “Werkschau 2012″, Arthouse Tacheles Berlin (DE), February-March 2012; Berlin Senate Department for Education, Youth and Science (DE), January-April 2012; International Conference on Holocaust Research, Berlin (DE), Exhibition Prize in the competition “Helpers, Rescuers and Networkers of the Resistance”, organized by the Federal Agency for Civic Education and the German Resistance Memorial Centre, January 2011; “Werkschau 2011″, Arthouse Tacheles Berlin (DE), February-March 2011; University of Ghent (BE), permanent exhibition since November 2010; Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Berlin (DE), May 2010; Goethe Institute Belarus, sponsorship of Kroke’s stay and exhibition in Minsk (BY), April 2010; Arthouse Tacheles Berlin (DE) permanent exhibition, 2009-2012.

Workshops: Berlin University of the Arts (Germany), January 2015; State School for Ballet and Artistry Berlin (Germany), October 2014; Collège Charles Péguy, Palaiseau (France), May 2014; Collège du Renard, Collège des Coudriers, Collège de la Seymaz, Geneva (Switzerland), March 2014; Friedrich-von-Spee School, Paderborn (Germany), October 2013; CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange), International Faculty Development Seminar “Ruin and Revival: History, Modern Memory and Identity”, Cracow (Poland), Berlin (Germany), July 2013; Collège Charles Péguy, Palaiseau (France), April 2013; Gymnasium Haganum (the Netherlands) und Goethe-Gymnasium Berlin (Germany) March 2013; Collège du Foron, Collège des Coudriers, Collège de la Seymaz, Geneva (Switzerland), February 2013; Collège Paul Sixdenier, Hauteville-Lompnes (France), December 2012; Bertha-von-Suttner Oberschule, Berlin (Germany), Sept. 2012; CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange), International Faculty Development Seminar (see above), July 2012; Lycée Aristide Maillol Perpignan (France) and John F. Kennedy School Berlin (Germany), May 2012; École Supérieure Numa-Droz Neuchâtel (Switzerland), April 2012; Gymnasium Haganum (the Netherlands) und Goethe-Gymnasium Berlin (Germany) March/May 2012; Collège de Montbrillant, Collège des Grandes-Communes, Collège du Foron, Collège des Coudriers, Geneva (Switzerland), January 2012; Goethe-Gymnasium Berlin (Germany) und Gymnasium Haganum (the Netherlands), May 2011.

Lectures: Berlin University of the Arts (Germany), January 2015; General Assembly of the association “Les Amis d’Etty Hillesum”, Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris (France), December 2014; Teacher Training for the Haute École Pédagogique – BEJUNE (Berne – Jura – Neuchâtel) – Swiss Ministry of Education – Biel/Bienne (Switzerland), November 2014; State School for Ballet and Artistry Berlin (Germany), October 2014; International Etty Hillesum Congress, organized by the Etty Hillesum Research Center/Ghent University (BEL), January 2014; Palais des Rois de Majorque, Perpignan (France), organized by the French National Department of Education (l’Inspection Académique Pyrénées-Orientales, le Conseil Général Pyrénées-Orientales) and the German Consulate in Marseille/Perpignan, Dec. 2013; Académie Montpellier (FR), Colloquium “50 years of the Élysée Treaty – 50 years of Franco-German friendship”, April 2013; International Faculty Development Seminar for US-University- and College-professors: “Ruin and Revival: History, Modern Memory, and Identity”, Cracow/Auschwitz (PL)/Berlin (DE), organized by the CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange), July 2013; Académie Montpellier (FR), Colloquium “50 years of the Élysée Treaty – 50 years of Franco-German friendship”, April-May 2013; Maison d’Izieu (F), House of the Wannsee-Conference (DE), Centre Max Weber (F), lecture for teachers/European seminar, January 2013; John F. Kennedy School, Heinz Berggruen Gymnasium, Sophie-Scholl Gymnasium, Bertha-von-Suttner Gymnasium, Carl-Zeiss Gymnasium, Carl-Bosch-School, all lectures financed by the Berlin Project Fund for Cultural Education, Berlin (DE), November-December 2012; Adolf-Reichwein Association, Museum of European Cultures, Berlin (Germany), October 2012; Checkpoint Charlie Foundation, Berlin (DE) & United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C. (US), Berlin Summer Academy “The Holocaust & Present-day Jewish Life in Germany”, July 2012; Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), International Faculty Development Seminar, “Ruin & Revival: History, Modern Memory and Identity”, Cracow (PL)/Berlin (DE), July 2012; CIDJ (Centre d’Information et de Documentation), Paris (F), May 2012; «The School Without Walls of Washington D.C. » (US), April 2012; Direction générale du Cycle d’orientation/République et Canton de Genève (CH), lecture for teachers as part of their continuing education, January 2012; Berlin Senate Department for Education, Youth and Science (DE), January-April; International Etty Hillesum Conference, Middelburg (NL), November 2010; Arthouse Tacheles Berlin (D), November 2010; Organisation ART Encounter (USA), October 2010; Yeshiva University HSB, New York (US), April 2010; International Memorial Day Conference held by the Akademia Oświęcimska, Cracow (PL), presentation of the film Le Convoi with panel discussion, January 2010; University of Bergamo (IT), May 2009.

TV: “The Walls of Warsaw, 1943-44″, shown on ARTE-TV ➢ online (documentary movie by André Bossuroy), sponsored by the European Commission, August 2014; “Ich bin”, shown on ARTE-TV (documentary movie by André Bossuroy), sponsored by the European Commission, September 2011; “The Convoy”, shown on ARTE-TV (documentary movie by André Bossuroy), sponsored by the European Commission and the Jewish Foundation of Belgium, January 2010.

Publications: “The spider and its web – insights into the thinking heart of the Dutch Jew Etty Hillesum (1914-1943)”, annotated illustrations to her diary by Roman Kroke, MEDIEL (2012), sponsored by the foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” (EVZ); “ART GOES EDUCATION – international school workshops by Roman Kroke, the diary of the Dutch Jew Etty Hillesum (1914-1943)”, MEDIEL (2012). Both works have also been published in a German and French.

Scholarships/Sponsoring: Artist in residence scholarship by the organisation « LA NON-MAISON », Aix-en-Provence (FR), Jan.-March 2013; Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future“ (EVZ), funding of the publications which document Kroke’s artwork about Etty Hillesum’s diary (see above), Jan. 2012; “Bielski Family Foundation” (USA), support of Kroke’s reserach-Travel through Belarus (BY), May 2010; Artist in Residence Scholarship in Minsk (BY) by the Goethe Institut, April 2010.