Sophie Ernst is an artist who was previously trained as an industrial mechanic at BMW before graduating from the Rijksakademie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam in 2000. Between 1999-2000 she was Art Director of EXPO 2000 at Haus der Weltweiten Kulturen in Hannover, Germany. In 2003, she was awarded a travel grant to Pakistan from the Prins Bernhard Foundation and has since lived and worked in various places in Asia.
From 2003 she was Assistant Professor at the School of Visual Arts of Beaconhouse National University in Lahore, Pakistan. Followed in 2008 with a position as Lecturer at the Universität der unste, in Berlin. She completed her PhD research, PhDArts at Leiden University, the Netherlands in 2016.
Ernst’s work explores the idea of projection. Over the last ten years she has looked at the notion of projection in relation to architecture, memory, culture, historical objects, urban spaces and identity. Her installation with Taha Mehmood, for example, was an investigation into the relationship between objects, experiences and identity – particularly through the colonial relationship between Europe and Asia.
In 2009, at the 9th Sharjah Biennial, she showed the video installation HOME. HOME is a long-term project that investigates the notion of ‘ideal space’ that lives as a memory from the recent or more distant past. In the first stage of this project in 2006, she explored how artists, writers and filmmakers remembered the places they had left behind during the Partition of the Indian Subcontinent in 1947. For her work at the Sharjah Biennial, Ernst extended the HOME project to architectural memories of Muslim, Christian and Jewish Arabs living in Palestine and Israel. In 2011, Sophie Ernst presented her installation Presence of an Absence, in collaboration with researcher Taha Mehmood, at the event of the same name, organised in cooperation with Framer Framed and the Scheltema Complex in Leiden.
Ernst has had solo presentations at Gedok, Stuttgart, D (2002), Abguss Sammlung Antiker Plastik, Berlin, D (2005), Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai, IN (2007), Babusch Project Space, Berlin, D (2009) and participated in group presentations at Apeejay Media Gallery, New Delhi, IN (2004), National Gallery, Islamabad, PK (2007), Albion Gallery, London, UK (2007), Pakistan Pavilion, Dubai, UAE (2008), the Royal Geographical Society, London, UK (2008), Bodhi Art, New York, USA (2008), Cartwright Hall, Bradford, UK (2009). Ernst received the Golden Cube for best installation at the Kassel DocFest, D (2009).