Frank Thiel was born in Kleinmachnow near Berlin, Germany in 1966. He moved to West-Berlin, Germany in 1985 and attended a training college for photography in Berlin from 1987-1989.
For over ten years, Frank Thiel has been photographing Berlin. Thiel refers to it as "the city that suffers from an overdose of history…Yet it does not suffer from its sediments like other European cities, but from the consequences of its eruptions." He describes the void spaces "as the kind of beauty that a normal eye is often too blind to see and is usually abandoned from our perception."
Thiel's commitment to the constant transformation and development of Berlin for more than a decade has become an integral part of the unfolding history of the city and its most important photographic record. His work describes a type of architecture in transition, the formation of a new political space within urban structures, but his real subject matter is the incomplete: he prefers the process of construction over the end result, and persistently pursues the aesthetics of temporality and change. Thiel's photographs seem to refer to a larger narrative context, yet they also explore the relationship of photography to painting and sculpture. Thiel's special ability to inscribe the dialectic relationship between ideology and aesthetics in his photographs also prevents any appearance of sentimentality. In his most recent body of large-scale photographs, Thiel focuses on walls and ceilings, mostly photographed in abandoned industrial buildings of East Berlin. The monumental photographs record the ruinous conditions of weathered paint surfaces and destroyed buildings, translating them into abstracted architectural spaces that are alluring and emotionally charged. In its abstract painterly quality, his work explores the intimate and evolving relationship between painting and photography.
Frank Thiel has exhibited extensively in museums and galleries worldwide; his works are included in the collections of many major international museums including the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Museu National Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Frank Thiel lives and works in Berlin.