Biography

Born and raised behind the iron curtain and growing up in Western Germany, Elisabeth Ajtay is a conceptual artist using photography as her primary tool of expression. Her works reflect and question western culture with themes related to communication, advertising, and the psychological impacts of technological changes. Her multi-facetted practice is a reflection on her translation from growing up in, and, constantly moving between two different systems.

She received a diploma in communications design from the University of Applied Sciences and Art (FH Dortmund) in Dortmund and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her formal education was preceded by studies in dance, baiting, drawing and photography in Budapest, Hungary, with Tamás Kopasz and other artists.

Her work can be found in numerous private collections. She has exhibited throughout Europe and in the US, including inSPIRACJE and Art Moves Festival in Poland, Goethe Institutes in Morocco, Prague, New York and France. Museum shows include the MKK -Museum for Art and Cultural History Dortmund, Germany and Blue Star Contemporary in San Antonio, Texas. She has exhibited with Alter Space and Savernack Street in San Francisco, CA. The Ministry of Education and Training of Northrhine-Westphalia is working with her series “Zuhause/At Home” for educational purposes, encouraging discussions about the notion of belonging and nationality. . Most recently she opened her second solo show with Don Soker Contemporary Art in San Francisco. She lives and works in New York City.

FORTHCOMING 
2020

Solo Show, Ginnungagap (Yawning Void), Soho Photo Gallery, New York NY

SOLO EXHIBITIONS 

2020

Dialog (Dialogue), Don Soker Contemporary Art, San Francisco CA

2018

Variations, Don Soker Contemporary Art, San Francisco
2016Penumbral States, (peephole gallery) Alter Space, San Francisco CA
moonABC, Savernack Street Gallery, San Francisco CA
2014babel, 9th WC installation, Ramon‘s Tailor, San Francisco CA
2013Exported Dreams, Imported Desires, Ramon’s Tailor, San Francisco CA
2012Ginnungagap/Yawning Void, Still Lights Gallery, San Francisco CA
2011Analogue Memories, Union Gewerbehof, Dortmund DE
The Scent of the West, curated by Simone Czech, Galerie 143, Dortmund DE
GROUP EXHIBITIONS 

2​020

Reconstruct, prideART Gallery, Berlin, GER
100 Years Bauhaus, Ruth’s Table, curated by Hanna Regev, San Francisco CA

2019

​Off the Grid, curated by Rex Bruce, LACDA, Los Angeles CA

2017Inner Nature8 Bay Area Photographers, curated by Jessica Snow, Gallery 1317, San Francisco CA

28 Day Cycle, curated by Pamela Belknap & Ingrid Wells, Studio 110 Projects, Sausalito CA

2016Elisabeth Ajtay, Brad Woodville & shesaidred, curated by Ann Jastrab, RAYKO Photo Center, San Francisco CA
Instant, Refusalon Gallery, San Francisco CA
The Sea Has No Boundaries, Stories of Travellers and Dreamers, Venice Vending Machine, curated by Marina Moreno, Hamburg, DE
2015Transmissions, Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum, San Antonio TX
2014Small Works, curated by Mary Negro, Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn NY
Bay Area Now 7, B.A.A.W.A. Bay Area Art Workers Alliance, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco CA
More or less Freedom? Art Moves, The Festival of Art on Billboards, Torun PL
Times Square, Billboard Display, see.me, New York NY
if…, curated by Cléa Massiani, Google Headquarters, Mountain View CA
M.A.C.H.I.N.E. (Master of Arts Collective in Higher Idea Navigation and Exploration), Gallery West, University Texas at Arlington, Arlington TX
Global Mission of Art – Reversality, project curated by Farhad Bahram, Geroges Hattab, Kevin Nazar
Postal Collage Project N°3, curated and initiated by Marty McCutcheon
◦ The Shuman Block, Berkeley CA
◦ Ramon‘s Tailor, San Francisco CA
Group Study, curated by Shmulik Krampf, Cléa Massiani, Refusalon, San Francisco CA
Art by Telephone…, Recalled, curated by Sébastien Pluot and Fabien Vallos, Art Center of La Panacée, Montpellier, FR
Juried Exhibition 2014, curated by Diana L. Daniels, Center for Photographic Art, Carmel CA
2013Me, Myself & I, curated by David Hilliard, RAYKO, San Francisco CA
Small Works, curated by Mary Negro, Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn NY
Currency, Final MFA show, The Mint, San Francisco CA
Sledgehammer Constitution, curated by Christina Elliott, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco CA
Merkle Dir Was, 15 Jahre Galerie Merkle, curated by Verena Zeiner, Galerie Merkle, Stuttgart, DE
Art by Telephone… Recalled, curated by Sébastien Pluot and Fabien Vallos, Centre National Édition Art et Images-CNEAI, Chatou, FR
2012Art by Telephone… Recalled, curated by Sébastien Pluot and Fabien Vallos, CAPC Musée d’Art
Contemporain de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, FR
Rob The Noisebank, THE LAB, San Francisco CA
Then and Now : Photography at the San Francisco Art Institute, 1945-2013, curated by Toni Gentilli,
Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco CA
Not Kansas, Photographers Explore Their Own Worlds,curated by Ann Jastrab, RayKo, San Francisco CA
2011BAN6 Slide Slam, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco CA
2010Moving Bikes, collaboration with Katrin Keller, RWE Ruhrtal-Rad Weg, Arnsberg DE
Zuhause/At Home, Bibliothek Scharnhorst, Dortmund DE
4. F/STOP Leipzig, Photo Festival, Leipzig DE
2009inSPIRACJE, 5th Festival for Visual Arts curated by Krzysztof Ked Olszewski, Szeczin, PL
raum-fluss-vektoren/space-flow-vectors, photographic installation,
KVWL-Kassenärztlicher Verband Westfalen-Lippe, Dortmund DE
The Christmas Photo Album, curated by Tina Schelhorn, Gallery, Moscow, RU
HONORS AND AWARDS 
2019VSC Merit Grant, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson VT
Honorable Mention, Category: Fine Art/Abstract, International Photography Awards
Honorable Mention, Category: Fine Art/Conceptual, International Photography Awards
Merit Grant, BANFF Centre for Arts and Creativity, BANFF, CAN
2017Belfast Photo Festival 2017 Open Submission, shortlisted for Quo Vadis, Belfast, IRL
20152015/16 Prequalified Artist Pool, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco CA
Semi Finalist, Immigration / Emigration Residency, Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe NM
20144th ArtSlant Showcase Winner, juried by Joanna Szupinska-Myers, Sebastian Campos and Anca Rujoiu
20137th ArtSlant Juried Winner, juried by Maria Jenson, Bea de Souza, Daniela Kostova
5th ArtSlant Juried Winner, juried by Neysa Page-Lieberman, Darren Jones, Deb Klowden Mann
1st place, Paul Sack Building Award in Black & White Photography
2011-
2013
Scholarship of Merit, SFAI, San Francisco CA
2012Honorable Mention, Paul Sack Building Award, San Francisco CA
Honorable Mention, PX3-Prix de la Photographie Paris, Paris FR
2009Semi Finalist, Photofestival Groningen, Groningen NL
2005Material grant, Kodak, Köln DE
20023rd place-Skin Aesthetics and Fascination, 2. Hamburger Triennale der Photographie, Hamburg DE
RESIDENCIES
2019Winter Residency, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson VT
2019Independent Residency, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Banff, Canada
20163rd Street Studios Program, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA   

PUBLICATIONS (excerpt)

2020Body is Language, Beyond Words, Literary Magazine, Berlin, GER
2017

“Interdependent Independence” and “Floating” and a little bit of History, by Ann Jastrab at www.all-about-photo.com (2017.03.17)

2015Goddard, Dan R., Everyday Life Connects The Dots In New Blue Star Exhibits, San Antonio Current,
June 17, 2015
Global Mission of Art – Reversality, book publication
2014M.A.C.H.I.N.E. (Master of Arts Collective in Higher Idea Navigation and Exploration), exhibition catalogue,
University Texas at Arlington TX
Colloquy, in conversation with Cléa Massiani, published by San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA
Juried Exhibition 2014, exhibition catalogue, Center for Photographic Art, Carmel CA
2013Currency, exhibition catalogue, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA
2012Sehstücke, Kunstwerke für die KVWL, KVWL, Dortmund, DE
 MFA NOW 2012 Archive Project, catalogue, Root Division, San Francisco CA
2010Amtsblatt des Ministeriums für Schule und Weiterbildung 10/2010, Schule Nordrhein-Westfalen, Ministerium für Schule und Weiterbildung, Düsseldorf, DE
 Kultur Elektrisiert, book, RWE Aktiengesellschaft Essen, Katrin Osbelt-KO2B, Klartext-Verlag, Essen, DE
 VoRWEggehen und den Ruhrtalradweg zur Open-Air Galerie machen, catalogue, RWE Deutschland AG, Essen, DE
2009inSPIRACJE/space, exhibition catalogue, inSPIRACJE, Szeczin, PL
2008Camera Austria International N° 103/104, Graz, A
2006Nah und Fern N° 32/Bilder in unseren Köpfen, cultural magazine for Migration and Participation, Prof. Dr. Birgit Rommelspacher, von Loeper Literaturverlag, Karlsruhe, DE
20057. Internationale Fototage Mannheim/Ludwigshafen, exhibition catalogue, Mannheim, DE
2002Reality-check, 2. Hamburger Triennale der Photografie, catalogue, Hamburg, DE

LECTURES, INTERVIEWS, ARTIST TALKS

2018Visiting artist, CCSF, Adult Education, led by Lorna Stevens
Artist Talk, Don Soker Contemporary Art, San Francisco CA
2017Interview with art historian Louis Vargas in San Francisco, CA, published on the Artscene Podcast (2017.03.02)
2012Ginnungagap/Yawning Void, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco CA
2010Zeit.Räume – Über Migration, Bibliothek Scharnhorst, Dortmund, DE
2009Interview with Danko Rabrenovic for Balkanizer, Funkhaus Europa, Köln, DE
2007Hanging Around, Casa Matei, Cluj, RO

TEACHING

2017-
2018
Public Education Faculty (Spring/Summer) , San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA
Teaching Artist, RAYKO Photo Center, San Francisco, CA
2013-
2014
Teaching Artist, Young Interns Program, Meridian Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2013Teaching Assistant to Paul Klein – Friending Art with Benefits, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA
2012Teaching Assistant to Jack Fulton – Introduction to Digital Photography, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA
2009-
2011
Immaculate, workshops developed in collaboration with Petra Linden, Youth program manager, Witten, DE
2001-
2003
Teaching Assistant to Jörg Winde, – div. photography classes, University of Applied Sciences and Art,
Dortmund DE