Sara-Lena Maierhofer
What drives a person to constantly take on a new personality? What characterises a man who systematically avoids being recognised as himself?

In Foam 3h, Sara-Lena Maierhofer (1982, Germany) shows her investigation into the life and the lies of swindler and fraud Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, alias Clark Rockefeller.

In Dear Clark, Sara-Lena Maierhofer tries to approach a swindler and fraud whose life has consisted of carefully constructing and then erasing his identity. After she fails in convincing the man to meet with her personally, she decides to study him from a distance. Step by step, she becomes better acquainted with her subject: his appearance, his idiosyncrasies, his intentions.

The project Dear Clark, consists of found photographs and her own photos, as well as videos and documents. Maierhofer has divided the story into a number of chapters such as De Introductie [The Introduction], De Belofte [The Promise], De Leugen [The Lie], etc. This way the photographer adds context to the storyline and it becomes an exemplary story for the many other swindlers.

This exhibition has been made possible by Van Bijlevelt Stichting.

Foam is supported by the BankGiro Loterij, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, City of Amsterdam, Delta Lloyd, Olympus and the VandenEnde Foundation.

Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter (1961) was born in Germany and moved to America to study as a teenager. Since that time he has used many aliases and passed himself off as a success (varying from presenter to government advisor). In Boston he posed as Clark Rockefeller, related to the chic Rockefeller family, and married Sandra Boss, a woman from a wealthy family.

Christian lived in luxury throughout their twelve-year marriage, with his wife supporting him. When Sandra discovered the extent of her husband’s deceptions, she filed for divorce. Following the divorce, Christian lost custody of his daughter and kidnapped her, whereupon Sandra hired a private investigator who exposed Christian’s past. Christian was arrested shortly after.

Maierhofer had read about Christian in the Süd-Deutsche Zeitung newspaper; she was fascinated and became engrossed in his life. His deceit captivated her, perhaps because she had experienced that in photography, too, the dividing line between fiction and reality is exceedingly fine. Maierhofer’s aim is to unmask photography as a lie in itself.

Sara-Lena Maierhofer (Freudenstadt, 1982) studied photography and media art at the University of Applied Sciences in Bielefeld. In 2011 she won the Gute Aussichten Award for New Photography 2011/2012.

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Sara-Lena Maierhofer