Romain Mader


The Artist and the Girls

Truth and fiction are intertwined in the work of Swiss artist Romain Mader in which he explores themes of gender-representation, loneliness and human behaviour in a connected world. Mader studied photography at ECAL in Lausanne and just completed his Master’s in Fine Arts in Zürich. In one of his early projects ‘Me with girls’ (2009) he portrayed himself as a young man, uncomfortable with women, who posed at the Geneva car show with all the beautiful girls presenting the cars.

He came to international attention after his work was featured in 2016 in a group exhibition in London’s Tate Modern. Here he presented his series ‘Ekaterina’, in which he poses as a lonely man in search of a Ukrainian bride. ‘This is a work on sexual tourism and the prejudices we have on Eastern Europe,’ Mader says.

The project was the recipient of the 2017 Paul Huf Award in the Netherlands. The jury commented: ‘In a slick style familiar from commercial snapshots, social media and tourist material, we are drawn into a world of exploited women, mail-order brides, sexual tourism, and pervasive media attention. But Mader’s depiction is funny, naive, absurd, light-hearted, and it is this contrast between the subject and its exploration that gives Ekaterina its unexpectedly moving power.’

Paul Huf Award, Ekaterina, Photography, Netherlands PINC.19