Champagner im Keller (engl. Champagne in the basement)

Nina Röder


When Nina Röder‘s grandparents died three years ago, the family

had to clear out and finally sell their house within a week. Most of

the grandparents‘ belongings were packed up at random - only a

few mementos were deliberately chosen and stored in a basement

room in the house of Röder‘s mother in the little town Windsbach in Germany.

The door of this room was opened again for the first time at the

beginning of 2020. With an ambivalence of amazement and melancholy

all objects, furnishings and especially the grandmother‘s clothes

were examined.

It was in this basement room that Nina Röder and her mother staged

portraits, self-portraits and still lifes with these belongings for the camera during the

Corona lockdown, thus creating a stage for an Absurd Theatre.

The series CHAMPAGNER IM KELLER follows Röder‘s work about

her family, in which she encounters loss and grief in a performative

and humorous way. As in her previous series, Röder deals with individual

abilities to act and explores questions about the influence our

family and our origins, as well as losses and inherited traumas, can

have on our thoughts and actions. With the potential of photographic

staging, the process of letting go of family members in Röder‘s

works is thus experienced as a changeable construction of contemporary


The title of the series is based on a quotation from Röder‘s grandfather.

On the occasion of his 90th birthday he was given several

bottles of champagne as a gift. As a modest man he brought those

into his basement and said: „When the beer is empty, we‘ll drink the

champagne in the basement.“

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  • Selfportrait with grandfather’s aviator glasses

  • In the series CHAMPAGNER IM KELLER I only worked with old objects of my deceased grandparents. In this picture I wear artificial nails, because my grandparents' house was bought by a nail studio

  • Green champgane.

  • Selfportrait with grandmas glasses & mussle.

  • My grandmother collected porcelain dolls. Most of them looked creepy.
    Here staged as a bouquet of flowers on my baby belly.

  • My grandmother was very proud of her furs. As a refugee from Bohemia who had once lost everything, her fur coats meant prosperity for her. It was important for my granny that I should inherit all of them.
    Portrait of my mum and me.

  • My grandparents spent much time feeding and watching a couple of pigeons on their balcony. Here is my mother with the porcelain pigeons of my grandma.

  • This portrait of my mother is part of my new series CHAMPAGNER IM KELLER. It‘s a work created in cooperation with my mum in our basement, where we store old clothes and furniture of my grandparents.

  • My grandma was a big fan of the holy Mary and of sausage. However, she did not like cold sausage, so she put it everywhere to warm it up.

  • Of course my mother is the absolute best. Not only because she has played an important role in my work for more than ten years, but also because she is up for any crazy idea. Here staged with the sweaters of my grandma.

  • I didn't know that the hospital gives you the teeth after someone dies.

  • Mum touching grandma‘s pearls with her tongue.

  • My grandma has kept all her clothes since the 50's. The series CHAMPAGNER IM KELLER is staged with the clothes and furniture of my deceased grandparents.

  • Grandfathers teeth and the swan.

  • Mum and the fur.

  • My grandmother loved tea - and mussles.

  • Stilllife with glasses.

  • My grandfather became 91 years old. After a heart attack and several stays in hospital, he knew very well that his head no longer worked properly.