Elfi, imagine you would receive us in your studio or home. Where do we talk together, where do we meet you?

We would sit in the garden on the terrace, next to a small pond with goldfish in it, bamboo separating yourself from the surrounding neighbors. Through the large living-kitchen area, filled with photos of Elfi, we enter this backyard garden. Besides birds singing, you can hear children playing.We would sit in the garden on the terrace, next to a small pond with goldfish in it, bamboo separating yourself from the surrounding neighbors. Through the large living-kitchen area, filled with photos of Elfi, we enter this backyard garden. Besides birds singing, you can hear children playing. Perhaps we are sitting in your favourite place? During summer our small garden is my favorite place.


Seat in the garden © Elfi Greb

You were born in 1966 in Traunstein, Germany, and have lived in Berlin since 1989. What stations and people have particularly shaped you in your life so far? First of all I was influenced by the nature where I grew up – the forest behind our house, the river, the Chiemsee and the mountains, also traveling to different countries (Africa, USA, Iceland) …. and then of course Berlin and my family.

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Portrait Elfi Greb © Elfi Greb

Which writers do you find exciting at the moment and which books can be found on your bookshelf? I recently read the triology by Ralf Rothermann. Books by Juli Zeh and Haruki Murakami are on my bookshelf. Which books have influenced or shaped you? Die Stille ist ein Geräusch (Silence is a noise) by Juli Zeh, Jenny Erpenbeck: Go, Went, Gone

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View out of the window © Elfi Greb

What are you currently reading and where does the book lie at hand? On Time and Water (Um tímann og vatnið) by Andri Snær Magnason, which lays next to my bed. What music do you listen to and when? Igor Levit, Björk, Bowie, Wallners. If you were to cook something for us, what would it be? Mediterranean style grilled vegetables with ciabatta and salad. What is your favourite food? Mediterranean pan-fried vegetables. What do you think about breakfast? Not so much, I drink black tea with cardamom in the morning. What kind of sport or compensation do you do for your artistic work? Yoga, biking, table tennis.


Portrait Elfi Greb © Elfi Greb

Do you have any special passions (hobbies) that you are passionate about, and if so, which ones? I like to discover new places. What personality trait particularly defines you? Intuition , Openness. Do you have a concern that you would like to share with us? Or an answer to a question (not asked by us) that currently moves you?


We would like to briefly introduce your artistic career. You trained as a photographer in Traunstein/Rosenheim from 1984 to 1987. From 1989 to 1996 you studied printing at the UdK (HdK) in Berlin. You are a member of the bbk Berlin, the professional association of visual artists in Berlin. Have we missed anything? If so, tell us about other stages in your artistic career.

In 2021 I have created an artists’ regulars’ table. We take turns meeting in the different studios, where we can get to know each other’s work better, which has already led to joint projects.

How did you get into art? Why art?

In my youth when I saw photos by Irving Penn and Ansel Adams, that fascinated me.

What is currently making you happy?

My hammock under the chestnut tree.

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View from the hammock to the chestnut tree © Elfi Greb

What is currently scaring you?

The war and climate change

Do you believe that art has a social responsibility? And what do you think it can achieve?

The artist as a person has a social responsibility – but art in itself does not. Art can, ideally – without political pressure or existential dependence – make things visible that play no role in other areas.


Neue National Gallery, Elfi Greb © Elfi Greb

What characterises your art? What is your work about – what are the central themes?

Reduction and clarity. Create a field of tension between the tangible and intangible. Nature and architecture are the central motifs.

Read Elfi Greb’s answer to the question about the central work further in “THE DEED | THE WORK

How do you protect yourself from too much inspiration in today’s times?

If you’re referring to inspiration through digital media, then I’m quite happy to abstain in between, also unsubscribe from blogs/newsletters again.

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View of the exhibition in the Q Gallery © Elfi Greb

How much of your work is planned in advance – how much arises intuitively?

I follow my inner pictures.

What are your (next) goals?

Experiment with different media.


LP W III © Elfi Greb

What is your position on the subject of faith? Do you have principles of faith or is there a motto?

Which project would you still like to realise if a lack of time, courage or financial resources did not play a role?

A room installation with various media.

In your view, what are the attributes of good art?

Aesthetics, clarity – art that touches me.

Is one born as an artist? Or is studying art compulsory?

Art is something a person can only create by himself, but to be successful, an art degree is certainly an advantage.

Who do you show a new work to first?

My husband.

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Exhibition view © Elfi Greb

What does the first hour of your day look like?

Is always different.

In the age of the Internet of Things, are galleries still necessary? If so, why and for what?

Art has to be experienced in the original.

Social media – blessing or curse?   



The exhibition “RADIX – Radical Root Explorations in Berlin and Baku” with various photographic works by Elfi Greb is on view at Q Gallery Berlin from 1. June to 1. July 2023, Großgörschenstraße 7, 10827 Berlin-Schöneberg. The works are presented in a double exhibition with Elnara Nasirli. The exhibition is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday + Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm, Monday and Thursday by appointment.

Elfi Greb (Instagram: @elfigreb)

The DEEDS interviews are not edited or shortened by our editorial team and are always reproduced in original sound. Therefore, we do not translate the interview into English or German unless the interviewee submits a translation or we are entrusted with the translation. Here, the English version of the interview was submitted by the artist.

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