“Mein Glas war schon immer halbleer…

…weil es nie ganz voll war!”

about him

about him

Since 1967 Michael Oertel goes his way with an open heart, eyes and mind. What he experiences and discovers he notes down. With words and pictures, he describes what life throws in front of his feet. He encounters absurdity, sadness and beauty, and writes them down or takes a picture telling the story.

Sometimes short and specific, direct and simple. Sometimes fantastic dreamy and playful. Sometimes amused, then again critical, yet still optimistic.

With intelligence and humour Michael Oertel encourages his audience to think and consider thoroughly what society resembles. He asks you to question things, to look closely at the bigger picture and to also pay attention to the unseen designs.

His art is fine and you get to know all of his variations. With great attention to detail, he stages his performance, its contents and himself. Stories and anecdotes are combined with photography and music.

Whether clearly exposed, or cryptically added Michael Oertel baffles and does not give up!

Written by: Katharina Roeber


“Of course, Michael Oertel is something special.” (L-IZ)

“Michael Oertel’s creations are a call for compassion, solidarity and tolerance.” (SKYDOME/Wiener Hilfswerk)

“People like him make cities like Leipzig” (artour)

“He takes Photos in the Sun to show the dark sides” (traffix)

“His photographs are alive without the need to take anything away or the need to add.” (HTWK Leipzig)

“He´s the kind of person with whom you can talk after the shortest amount of time about almost everything.” (Leipzigs Neue)

“Through his paintings doors are opened and space is created for encounter.” (Galerie Pi, Montreal)

“The somewhat different social worker and artist from Leipzig.” (RadioOrange24, Wien)

“On seemingly” sneaky “way Oertel invites you on a journey through the imagination, once addressed by other means” (LVZ)



During his school time Michael Oertel wasn´t the best reader or writer. Neither Sports nor German were his favourite subjects. Over the years he didn´t read much, only in 10th grade Michael Oertel read his first book and his choice was Gorky’s “Mother”. But to tell stories, to actually live these stories that´s a thing he was always good at.
There wasn´t a night when  he didn´t read a “ bed night” story to his big brother, until he fell asleep. And at some point he would sit with his black hat and smouldering pipe in front of his green Erika portable typewriter and typed until late into the night and wrote a nativity play, which was then performed. He kept on  typing, slowly developing his own style. Which came trough in many verses, poems, fables and stories. Oertel’s first book was published in 2009; it was the “Tagebuch eines Depressiven”. This book was followed by others. The spectrum is quite diverse: from novels and children’s books, photography and nonfiction up to the book of aphorisms. And from these works Oertel often reads, whether in galleries, on reading stages, libraries, churches, nurseries, hospitals etc. .This is often done in combination with a photo exhibition with photo series by Michael Oertel. Oertel was awarded the 2006 “Agenda Award 2005” and 2012 with the “COURAGE Award” and was nominated for the ‘1. Saxon Art Award for Democracy and Tolerance “and the” Leipzig Book Fair Prize 2013 “. In 2015 Oertel was awarded with the Family-Friendliness Prize.



It was in the last millennium, when Michael Oertel was born and his passion for photography discovered. He experimented with what the market and his wallet offered. To be able to develop his own films, he sometimes even locked himself in his brother’s closet. Atmospheric photos were created of which barely one exists. “Chamois” is one of the last ones and one of Michael Oertel’s favourites. The end of the 90´s and beginning of the new millennium there were a few small exhibitions dedicated to his Photos.  Since 2009, Oertel dedicated his work to the photography. He designed photo sets and implements them. With his eye, the lens Oertel questions, his view is social critical, politically and take sides.

His photo series have been exhibited among others in Leipzig, Prague, Vienna, Montreal and Tartu. His photo series serve him often as a basis for project work with children and young people (in countries such as Estonia, France, Canada, and the Czech Republic). The projects are designed and directed by Michael Oertel himself. Vernisages with Michael Oertel are often combined with a reading from his books. Oertel was awarded the 2006 “Agenda Award 2005” and the “COURAGE Award 2012”, and was nominated for the ‘1. Saxon Art Award for Democracy and Tolerance “and the” Leipzig Book Fair Prize 2013 “. In 2015 Oertel was awarded with the Family-Friendliness Prize.



Do you want to Book Michael Oertel? Do you want to organize a reading with him? Do you want to present an exhibition of him? Do you want to offer an event with Michael Oertel? Then sign up, you can use our contact field.

We look forward to your call!

Michael Oertel
Lausicker Straße 61
D – 04299 Leipzig

+49 341 8615066

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