Das innere Kind erwacht im erwachsenen Körper und möchte spielen, merkt aber, dass es sich zuvor von alten Programmierungen und Zwängen lösen muss.


Welche anerzogenen Muster halten uns als Erwachsene vom freien und wilden Spielen zurück? Welche sozialen Verhaltensschablonen malen wir bis heute freudlos nach? Welche transgenerationalen Traumata spielen Verstecken in unseren Zellen? Was müssen wir verlernen um einfach wieder zu sein?


Die Serie Spielen gleicht einem fotografischen und materiellen Lösungsprozess. Radikal und ehrlich lässt sich Johanna Bürger in eigene, familiäre und gesellschaftliche Themen fallen, um ihr inneres Kind zu befreien. Unbefangen übermalt und übernäht sie die Selbstportraits und geht mit jedem Bild der Frage nach, ob wir durch Kunst zu unserem ureigenen Wesenskern zurückfinden können.


The inner child awakes in a grown up body and wants to play. However, it realizes that it first needs to be set free from past conditioning and influences.


What learned patterns prevent us from playing freely and wildly? Which social routines do we follow lifelessly day by day? Which transgenerational trauma is still concealed in our cells? What must we unlearn in order to simply be?


The series Play represents a photographic and material process of resolution. Johanna Bürger examines themes related to herself, her family and society in a radical and honest way, seeking to free her inner child. Unabashedly, she paints or sews over her self-portraits. With each image she explores the question of whether we can find our way back to our very essence through art.


I have always been interested in psychology and how our own experiences, family and society shape us.
Initially, I intended to do a photographic series on different generations and patterns transferred from generation to generation within my family to better understand where I come from.
During the research I realized more clearly where my very own patterns of behavior and beliefs come from and where they might root in.

I started reading about studies which show that experiences from one generation could be passed onto another generation, called transgenerational inheritance. All off a sudden, I connected my inside world to the war and post-war experiences of my grandmother and I sensed that by looking at her experiences some answers might be found concerning my own feelings.

I have also learned that our early experiences and education will stay within us as patterns and sets of beliefs, if we don’t face them. In psychology it is called “the inner child“. This term is used because it speaks to us more on an emotional level than on a cognitive one. When we - as adults - experience repetitive dysfunctional behavior or thoughts, ranging from feelings, e.g. of not belonging till severe depression -  it might be that “the inner child“ needs to be taken care of.

Indeed, as adults, we are able to take care of our own inner child and give it the unconditional love it might have lacked as a child. In doing so, we can transform our inside world and our perception of us and others tremendously. Many psychologists - writing about the inner child - share the vision that if every person started to look at his/her own inner child and took care of it, this world would be a more friendly place with less dictatorship and running wild egos. I strongly believe that, too.

The past two years, I have been exploring my inner child, or even numerous inner children to see what their story is and what they need to feel safe and protected so that I - as an adult - can live in tune with myself and others. Books dealing with the inner child, the family history research, time, exchange with friends and family, meditation, breath-work and art have helped me on this journey. The selected 14 self-portraits of the photo series Spielen / Play are the visible results of an at times difficult, rocky but truly rewarding internal journey, which I will continue.