Joscha Steffens (b. 1981, Germany) is currently a resident artist at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. The artist is known for his compelling photography that hovers somewhere between reality and fiction. His series „Wildboyz“ is a documentary-like photographic portrayal of a group of former russian soldiers and similarly minded “weekend soldiers“ that have met through online platforms. They come together in rural areas to “play“ and simulate war. Through his pictures, the viewer is overcome with the desire to join in the games and drawn toward the violence that ultimately accompanies them. Steffens latest series “Teen Spirit Island“ is made up of the portraits of professional online gamers. The dark, concentrated faces belong to professional athletes in the world’s largest MOBA (Multiple Online Battle Arena) – League of Legends. As in "Wildboyz,“ the viewer is confronted with both the real and the pretend. Though the players exist in our tangible reality, the worlds in which they work are located in a virtual setting. This creates a curious disconnect, as the images simultaneously invite the viewer to come closer and keep him at a distance.
Completing his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig in 2011 and a postgraduate program at the KHM in Cologne, Steffens has exhibited his work in various european institutions including the DZ Bank Frankfurt, Heidelberger Kunstverein and Fabrica Braco de Prata, Lissabon. In 2008, he was awarded the national grant of Studienstiftung des deutsches Volkes.