March 11 - May 21, 2016

Jacob Aue Sobol

Arrivals and Departures


“Going onboard the legendary Transsiberian is a journey I’ve always wanted to make. I was born in Denmark, a country you can cross in five hours. But Russia is something else, it is a huge country!“

Jacob Aue Sobol


Polka Galerie is honored to present the first opus of Arrivals & Departures, a photographic saga initiated in 2012 by Jacob Aue Sobol. The Danish artist boarded the Transsiberian with the intention to photograph the passengers’ daily lives. 

But along the 10 000 km journey, between Moscow and Beijing, Aue Sobol came across one problem: the train was empty. Jacob Aue Sobol then directed the lens of his camera towards the windows and was fascinated by what he discovered outside. 

“This cold made my blood boil“. At each stop, Jacob would take the time to explore the wide open spaces, the snow-covered landscapes, the Russian forests, the Mongolian deserts and the Chinese mountains. He also came accross people: “To get to know the places, I wanted to meet the inhabitants, even if it was only a brief encounter“.

Jacob Aue Sobol photographed twin sisters in their home in Moscow, followed hunters in the Ulan-Bator mountains and hurried pedestrians in a bustling Bejing. All in all Jacob indulged in a photographic journey, which common thread was the rails of the Transsiberian.

This trip was also a spiritual journey, an emotional investigation. Each picture echoes the artist’s fears, feelings and desires. Sobol, by going beyond the boundaries of geographical and linguistic borders, tries to get in touch with the essence of human’s emotions. “For me, what we say with words is far less powerfull than what we can express with our eyes and body. The image comes with no words and so should the encounter“.

Born in 1976 in Copenhagen (Denmark), Jacob was admitted in 1998 to Fatamorgana, the Danish School of Documen- tary and Art Photography. There he developed a personal photograpic style which later paced his photographs of Tiile- rilaaq, a settlement on the East Coast of Greenland where he lived between 1999 and 2002. In 2006, he won a World Press Photo award. In 2007 Aue Sobol became a nominee of Magnum Photos. And in 2008, he was awarded the Leica European Publishers Award for I, Tokyo (presented in 2015 at the Polka Galerie).