Jakob Roepke

b . Germany. Lives and works in Berlin.


  • When looking at Jakob Roepkes abstract relief’s I can let my eyes wander here and there over the coherent geometric shapes, exploring paths up and down, something that could be a geological structure, meandering through something that could be a hilly landscape, overlapping rooftops or some sort of crystalized physignomy. Apart from all these random associations I am still not confined by any narrowing attributions but can still just appreciate these wall objects like an intricate image. Curiously the artist, in his creative process, is confining himself by using only a limited set of shapes, mainly triangles and squares, thus creating a great variation of shapes and shades. The shades of grey display a two-dimensional, mosaic-like image, which is produced via a three-dimensional construction. Depending on the angle and the intensity of light, the picture is changing, a bright lit shape can turn into dark grey when placed in the shadow by a changing illumination.
    Merle Eisenberg, 2018
  • Jakob Roepke began working on a series of miniature plates in 1996 and has since created over 1400 separate pieces. While each small painting is an individual work, they build up networks of reoccurring motives, situations and themes. 
In each picture Roepke continually reinvents scenes for his tiny protagonists, the figures of which are drawn from 19th century Jiu Jitsu and 1970s yoga handbooks. Isolated in seemingly lonely domestic spaces, he throws them into ever changing and unexpected situations as if each work were a piece of iconographic research. The quotidian is turned on its head as the figures ward off monstrous animals, wild geometric figures and strange alien forms. Drawing upon art history, popular culture and the surrealist tradition, each piece is left open to a wealth of contextual interpretations.
Following the surrealist tradition of Max Ernst and Giorgio de Chirico his tiny collages seem to reference the uncertainty and adversity of 21th century life; yet while the scenes hover between hopelessness and destruction, Roepke’s central figures always seem on the verge of tipping the fight in their favour.



  • 1981 – 1988 studied at University for Arts and Design, Offenbach, Germany
  • 1986 – 1987 guest-student at Edinburgh College of Art, Dept. of Painting, Dept. of Sculpture
  • 1990 – 1994 living in Edinburgh, now living in Berlin
  • in Berlin, Basel Frankfurt, Köln, London, Edinburgh, Kopenhagen etc.
  • group shows: Dubai, Tel Aviv, New York, Amsterdam, Berlin, Colchester, Papua Neu Guinea
Art fairs:
  • FNB Joburg Art Fair (Johannesburg), Art Amsterdam
  • (Amsterdam), Volta6 (Basel), artbrussels (Brüssel), SWAB art fair (Barcelona) NEXT 08 (Chicago), YEAR_07/06 - Art Projects (London), Pulse Miami (Miami), Preview Berlin (Berlin), art cologne (Köln), Art Frankfurt (Frankfurt/ Main ), Fresh Paint 09 (Tel Aviv)
PROJECTS (selection):
  • 2015 „DEUTSCH 1914-PAPUA NIUGINI 2014“, Papua Neu Guinea und Berlin
  • 2014 “In Search of Lost Time”, castrum peregrinum, Amsterdam, NL
  • 2013 „Missing - an exhibition about absence“, Gerichtshöfe, Berlin
  • 1992 “Human Nature”, Colchester, UK FILMS:
  • 2013 “Strange Spaces” by Sabine Carbon, 12min https://vimeo.com/119777803
  • 2013 “Interiority- Jakob Roepke after various artists”, ikono TV , 6 min. https://vimeo.com/81711126 Residencies etc.
  • 2014 guest artist ‚Lettre International’ Magazin, Berlin 2014 short-listed for „Kunst am Bau“ at Barenboim-Said –Akademie, Berlin
  • 2008 SWAB Art Prize, Barcelona
  • 1995 Residency Bad Segeberg
  • 1991 Great Junction Studios Leith, Edinburgh, Schottland
  • 1992-94 WASP-Studios Patriothall, Edinburgh, Schottland
  • Works in collections
  • Sammlung des Deutschen Bundestages, Berlin / Lettre International/ International Collage Center New York and Milton, PA A.G. Rosen, New York, USA / Sir Duncan Mac Laren’s Collection of
  • Symbolist and Surrealist Art, London, UK / The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford Conneticut, USA /Saxo Collection, Kopenhagen DK, Rosenmuseum, Löve, DK /Sammlung Grub (Berlin und London) and further private collections in Germany, GB, UAE, US, Israel, Denmark and Sweden.
  • 2013 “Strange Spaces” von Sabine Carbon, 12min https://vimeo.com/119777803
  • 2013 “Interiority- Jakob Roepke after various artists”, ikono TV , 6 min. https://vimeo.com/81711126

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