Menno Aden

Born in Weener
I will take away the roofs of the houses by my devilish power and in spite of the darkness of the night the inside will lie open before your eyes.” With these words he simply stretched out his right arm, and at that moment all the roofs disappeared. Now the student saw the inside of the houses (…) as if at bright midday. The sight was too new for him not to claim all his attention. He let his eyes wander in all directions, and the colorful variety of objects that surrounded him kept his curiosity busy for a long time.
Alain-René Lesage: The Lame Devil (Le Diable Boiteux), 1707

Menno Aden is specialized in architecture and spaces. People are hardly ever to be seen in his work. And yet the works from the series ‘Room Portraits’ can be read as portraits of the people living in the photographed rooms. They show spatial arrangements from an unusual perspective and seem as if someone had lifted the ceiling of the room to photograph it – one associates dollhouses and at the same time thinks of surveillance. In fact, they consist of up to a hundred individual shots taken with the help of a baton tripod and then digitally assembled.

(Wilhelm von Werthern for Le Monde diplomatique 9/2010)

For his series ‘Over Head’ Menno Aden photographed ceilings of the former U.S. Headquarter offices in Berlin-Dahlem. Aden captures a moment of this orphaned building’s turbulent history during the Cold War – the time of transition up to its current reconstruction. Preserved by photography, this moment is carried into the present. Here are the observations of a pathfinder who scans the building for material remains of its now faded, historically significant function.

Aden does not address obvious traces that are omnipresent at a site like this. It is the inaccessible parts that interest him, the unconscious leftovers such as the pipe system and powerlines behind the ceilings, a web of veins that pervades the whole building and become readable only through the precise capture of the camera lens.

Menno Aden’s digital editing and juxtapositioning of individual works carry a rythmic playfulness from which emerges a particularly sensible and graphic aesthetics.

(Katrin Seemann)


Born in Weener, Germany, in 1972. Studied at the University of Bremen. He became known with his unusual photographs of spaces from the ceiling perspective. His works are often topographical in nature, whether photographing systems of pipes, façades, or structures. In 2009, he was awarded the European Award of Architectural Photography, and in 2013, the Los Angeles International Photography Award and the Deutscher Preis Wissenschaftsfotografie, Bremen. He lives in Berlin. 
(Nadine Barth for Berlin Raum Radar, Hatje Cantz, 2016)