Sebastian Acker

*1981 in Lichtenstein, East Germany
lives and works in Berlin

The work of the German-born artist, Sebastian Acker interrogates humankind’s shifting constructions of nature and their profound – though often invisible – impact on the environment. In a multi-disciplinary practice which spans videos, installations, prints and photographs, the artist advocates for what he calls “unlearning nature”, by unravelling the myths around the non-human world, the legacies of romanticism and the notion of pristine wilderness. Often focusing on the extraction and subsequent distribution of raw materials, Acker opens up a space for the observer to reorientate their position within the global ecosystem.

Acker studied at Chelsea College of Art before completing a MA at Slade School of Fine Art both in London. In 2021 he published his first artist book, Traces of Other Places, (Kerber) for which he received the Stiftung Kunstfonds Publication Grant. He has also been the recipient of an Arts Council England Grant, the AHRC Scholarship, the Neustart Kultur Grant from Deutscher Künstlerbund and the 20 Seconds for Art Award by KÖR at the Vienna Viennale. Recent solo exhibitions have taken place at Kunstverein Dresden (2022), Black Flamingo, Fahrbereitschaft/Haubrok Foundation in Berlin (2018) and Neuer Ravensburger Kunstverein (with Phil Thompson) in 2017. In 2018, Acker’s work was included in Manifesta 12 in Palermo ‘May The Bridges I Burn Light The Way’, Institute of Contemporary Arts in London ‘Diving into a Teacup’ in 2018, and Haus der Statistik in Berlin ‘Residenzpflicht’ in 2020. He has attended several international artist residency programs and given artist talks at Strelka Institute, Chelsea College of the Arts and the Slade School of Fine Art.



2010-12 MFA Sculpture, Slade School of Fine Art, London
2004-07 BA (Hons) Spatial Design, Chelsea College of Arts, London
2002-03 Foundation Art & Design, Chelsea College of Arts, London


Solo Exhibitions

2022 Sebastian Acker: Please Keep the Door Closed, Kunstverein Dresden, Germany
2018 Ennis House, Black Flamingo Projects @ Fahrbereitschaft / Haubrok Foundation, Berlin
2017 Mountain Village (with Phil Thompson), Neuer Ravensburger Kunstverein, Germany


Selected Group Exhibitions and Screenings

2022 20 Seconds for Art, KÖR Wien, screening on public transport across Austria
  Editions II, Uta Stabler, Dresden, Germany
2020 Residenzpflicht, curated by msk7, Haus der Statistik, Berlin
2019 Transpresence (screening), Studio 4413, Saint Petersburg, Russia 
Kontext Festival, curated by Mariya Dmitrieva, Bolshoe Goloustnoe, Russia
2018 May the Bridges I Burn Light the Way, Exile Gallery at MANIFESTA 12, Palermo
Diving Into a Teacup (screening)ICA, London
Mountain Village (screening), Strelka Institute/The New Normal, Moscow
The Starting Point that will Also Be the Exit (screening), The Souvenir Museum, Paris
2015 Chelsea 10, Cookhouse Gallery/Triangle Space, London
Stones in a Field – Sorbus Video Week, Sorbus Galleria, Helsinki
Magnolia Cube, 114 Middleton Road, London
2014 Sanssouci Realty Issue #1: The Latte Vision (screening), curated by Attilia Fattori Franchini and Paul Flannery,
Flow, Store, London
2013 Nova Art Prize, Phillips Auction House, London
2012 Ersatzmonument, C. Rockefeller Center for the Contemporary Arts, Dresden, Germany
The Function of the Oblique – Action, curated by Attilia Frattori Franchini, Son Gallery, London
The Function of the Oblique – Resistance, curated by Attilia Frattori Franchini, No Format Gallery, London
Come to Disruption, Arcadia Missa, London
Come to Disruption, Tove’s Galleri – Vesterbro ConTemporary Workout Space, Copenhagen
Slade Postgraduate Show, Slade School of Fine Art, London
2011 We Worked in Squares and Loved in Triangles, with Phil Thompson, SSE Space, London
Slade Interim Show, with Phil Thompson, Slade Research Centre, London
Bloomsbury Festival, with Phil Thompson, Gordon Square, London
2009 The Ceiling Show, Supine Studios, London


Awards, Grants & Residencies

2022 KÖR – Kunst im Öffentlichen Raum Wien, 20 Seconds for Art Award, Austria
Deutscher Künstlerbund e.V., Neustart Kultur Stipend, Germany
2020 Stiftung Kunstfonds, Publication Grant, Germany
Berliner Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa, Stipend Sonderprogramm, Germany
2019 ‘Residenzpflicht’ Stipend, msk7 (supported by Senatsverwaltung Berlin), Germany
Kontext Residency, Dekabristen/Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Germany
2017 Arts Council England Grant, UK
2013 Nova Art Prize, UK
Legion TV Residency, shortlisted, UK
Ideas Tap Film Fund (with Phil Thompson), UK
2012 Duveen Travel Scholarship (with Phil Thompson), UK
Land Securities Studio Award, UK
Danish Arts Council, Exhibition Grant with Come to Disruption, DK
2011 Littoral Arts Trust, Merz Barn Residency, Cumbria, UK.
2010 Arts and Humanities Research Council Scholarship, UK
2009 CeRCCa Residency, Llorenc del Penedes, Spain


Selected Press & Publications

2022 Duncan Ballantyne-Way, “Sebastian Acker”, Dahai, June 23, 2022
2021 Sebastian Acker, Traces of Other Places (Berlin: Kerber, 2021, ISBN 978-3-7356-0761-4)
Stefan Fischer, “Gute Kopien”, Süddeutsche Zeitung, September 16, 2021, 35. Online version: “Ohne Kopie kein Original”, Süddeutsche Zeitung, September 15, 2021
2019 Maria Ines Plaza Lazo, “Notes on Palermo”, Arts of the Working Class, January 4, 2019
2018 Barbara Engel (ed.), Historical versus Modern: Identity through Imitation? (Berlin: Jovis, 2018, ISBN 978-3-86859-498-0)
“EXILE X Summer Camp: ‘May the Bridges I burn light the way'”, O Fluxo, October 18, 2018
2015 U. Ströbele, A. Greiner and J.P. Sexauer, 24h Skulptur – Notes on Time Sculptures (Berlin: Distanz, 2015, ISBN 978-3-95476-125-8) 94 
Martina Dlugaiczyk, “Aura für Alle”. In Die Ausstellungskopie, edited by Anette Tietenberg (Cologne: Böhlau, 2015, ISBN 978-3-412-22120-1) 99, 108
Martina Dlugaiczyk, “Surrogate Cities in China und Europa”. In Muster im Transfer, edited by Anette Tietenberg (Cologne: Böhlau, 2015, ISBN 978-3-412-22475-2) 247
Fernholme Road Living Project, Kitson Road No. 6, (London: Camberwell Press, 2015, ISBN 978-1-908971-40-1) 46
2014 Pau Cata, CeRCCa 2009-2014, (Barcelona: Centre de Recerca i Creacio Casamarles, 2014, ISBN: 978-84-617-1778-1) 28-29
2013 Allison C. Meier, “Capturing the Chinese Copy Town Trend”, Hyperallergic, May 14, 2013
Samuel Medina, “A Pair Of Artists Reveal China’s Counterfeit Cities”, FastCoDesign, May 20, 2013
Ryan O’Hanlon, “Why Is China Stealing Cities, Towns, and Buildings?”Pacific Standard, May 16, 2013
2012 Rozsa Farkas and Tom Clark, “How to Sleep Faster e2”, e-journal by Arcadia_Missa, December 2012
“Slade Sculpture 2012”, print collection, published by Slade School of Fine Art, June 2012
2011 “XY/Z – Sculpture 2011”, print collection, published by Slade School of Fine Art, June 2011
2009 Alistair Wildblood and Eugenia Ivanassevic,”Supine Studios Autumn/Winter 2009″, catalogue, November 2009


Selected Talks, Lectures & Events 

2021 Book presentation and signature session, Paris Photo Fair, Paris
Sebastian Acker in conversation with Duncan Ballantyne-Way, Black Flamingo, Berlin
Podcast, Tokenverse Episode 7 with Ania Poullain-Majchrzak, DoinGud
2019 Artist talk, Transpresence at Studio 4413, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Artist talk with msk7 / Residenzpflicht Residency, Modulare Unterkunft für Flüchtlinge, Berlin 
Artist talk, Kontext Festival, Bolshoe Goloustnoe, Russia
2018 Remote artist talk, Strelka Institute / The New Normal, Moscow
Fake news workshop, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Facebook HQ, Berlin
2014 Visiting Artist Lecture, Contextual Practice Series, Chelsea College of Arts, London
2013 Duveen Talk, Slade School of Fine Art, London
2012 Artist Talk, Arcadia_Missa, London
2010 Guest Lecture, Spaces & Narrations Lecture Series, Chelsea College of Arts, London