December 11, 2015 - February 14, 2016
Forum 038: Jessica Zaydan – Never Break Your Heart

In the Forum exhibition “Never Break Your Heart”, photography artist Jessica Zaydan explores her past as a fan of the Backstreet Boys, the world’s most successful boy band.

“From now on, my name is Jessica Carter!”, reads an entry in Jessica Zaydan’s diary from 1996, recounting her love affair with the band’s youngest member, Nick Carter. Following a chance encounter with Nick at a bus stop when the band is in town for a concert, Jessica abandons her family and friends and escapes with him to his family mansion in Florida where they spend an amazing summer together. That, at least, is what happens in the fantasy world of 13-year-old Jessica who was a huge Backstreet Boys fan at the time and head-over-heels in love with Nick Carter. Her diaries and photos from back then are declarations of love to unattainable idols, and document an almost-forgotten phase between childhood and adolescence, a time when everything seemed possible.

Nearly 20 years later, Jessica Zaydan has decided to give herself a reality check, in tragicomic style. In 2014, she booked herself onto a cruise with the no-longer-quite-so-young boy band. The cruise party, a group of almost exclusively female fans, is treated to beach concerts and Q & A sessions with the band members, interspersed with shopping events and a fitness program. The perfect opportunity to get right up close to – and perhaps even touch – the stars of yesteryear and pose with them for a selfie.

Jessica Zaydan: Fans on the cruise © Jessica Zaydan
Jessica Zaydan: Fans on the cruise ship © Jessica Zaydan
Jessica Zaydan: Nick and I, 2014 © Jessica Zaydan
Jessica Zaydan: Nick and I, 1997 © Jessica Zaydan

Jessica Zaydan combines her photographs and a video from the cruise with diary entries and photos from when she was a teenager. The result is a collage pieced together from fragments of dreams and reality which also quirkily documents the dramatic comedown from the status of an international star to one of a B-list celebrity that is the experience of so many pop stars who had their heyday around the turn of the millennium.

Jessica Zaydan was born in Saarbrücken, Germany in 1983. After completing an apprenticeship as a media designer, she studied Photo Design at the Munich University of Applied Sciences, and then Fine Art and Photography at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. Since 2013, she has been studying Photography and the Moving Image at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig. Jessica Zaydan was awarded a studio artist’s grant by the City of Munich from 2010 to 2014. In 2015, her work “Never Break Your Heart” won the Akademieverein München prize. Her work has been shown in a number of group exhibitions.