academic assistant, Prof. Alexandra Bircken


The starting point of Sophia Mainka's artistic practice is an interest in living space and the (sometimes permeable) boundary between private and public space. Mainka's investigation thereby begins with her own positioning and thus a view from the Western European, suburban middle class, which is directed towards more general questions of our time. In doing so, she explores the relationship between people, things, and other forms of life. Her sculptures and installations are reminiscent of familiar objects, but deny their function. In her videos she searches for new forms of life; their protagonists are hybrids. An earth-, animal- or machine-world is a utopia that already exists in Mainka's colorful and precisely designed video works.


Sophia Mainka, lives and works between Munich and Paris, born 1990 in Munich, where she first studied philosophy at the LMU Munich and graduated in 2020 as a master student at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich in the class of Alexandra Bircken. Since 2022, she has been an artistic associate at the AdBK Munich. Her work has already received several awards, including the Erwin and Gisela von Steiner Foundation Prize (2020) for her thesis, the Debutant Prize of the BBK Munich (2021), the Kickstarter Scholarship of the Kunstfonds Bonn (2021), and the Leonard and Ida Wolf Memorial Prize of the City of Munich (2018). In 2021, her first solo catalog "Big House Silver Star" was published and presented by Galerie der Künstler*innen München. Mainka works with various media such as drawing, sculpture and video, which she stages in various solo and group exhibitions in mostly room-filling installations, including at Haus der Kunst Munich (2021), Museum Villa Rot, Burgrieden (2021), Galerie der Künstler*innen München (2021), Stadtgalerie Lauenburg (2022) or Kunstverein Ebersberg (2022). Last year she was a fellow at the Cité international des Arts in Paris and from September 2023 at the Fondation Fiminco in Romainville, Ile de France.