Bernd & Hilla Becher, Peter Weller, August Sander – photographic industrial landscapes, architectures and portraits
An exhibition by Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne in cooperation with Studio Becher and the Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf
September 28 – November 8, 2020 (no opening)
Room 2 remains closed during this time.
After the exhibition Analogies at the Kunstarchiv Kaiserswerth in Düsseldorf was successfully shown until September 20, 2020, but could not reach all interested parties due to the situation around Covid 19, we decided to present the series of works in Cologne as well. Due to the different layout of the rooms, the presentation will be expanded for a few more exhibits.
Noteworthy pictures and sources of inspiration for Bernd and Hilla Becher are in the focus of the presentation and at the same time enter into a dialogue with selected works by the photographer couple. The photographs by Peter Weller and August Sander, whose works selected for this exhibition date back to the first three decades of the 20th century, fascinated the Bechers since the beginning of their work in the early 1960s. They had discovered Weller's negative archive, owned by the Siegerländer Heimat- und Geschichtsverein in Bernd Becher's hometown of Siegen, and Sander's first publication “Antlitz der Zeit” (1929) had long been a photographic "must-read" for them. While Peter Weller, who voluntarily worked mainly for the documentation of mines and blast furnaces plants in the Siegerland and Westerwald, is comparatively less well known, August Sander is one of the big names in photography history, a personality who is directly associated with his portrait work “People of the 20th Century”.
The exhibition shows content and methodological correspondences in the creation of the three photographic positions. The documentary description of industrial landscapes in the Westerwald and Siegerland can be found both in the systematic work of Weller and the Bechers, even motivic analogies can be illustrated. The serial as well as the typological view of reality also characterizes August Sander's empathetic and analytical portrait photographs. Not only portraits of craftsmen and workers are being shown, but also those that were created in his home region in the Siegerland, such as in the small town of Herdorf, and are largely unknown.
Peter Weller's photographs are modern prints that were created under the supervision of Bernd and Hilla Becher. The modern prints, which present motifs by August Sander, were created in collaboration with the grandson of the photographer Gerd Sander and also by Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur. The Photographs by Bernd and Hilla Becher are modern prints from the Studio Becher, under the management of Max Becher.
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Im Mediapark 7, 50670 Cologne,
Tel.: +49 221 88895200, email@example.com, www.photographie-sk-kultur.de
Martin Rosswog: in Portugal 2009–2011
Photographs from Alentejo and
September 28 – November 8, 2020 (no opening)
The photographer and filmmaker Martin Rosswog (b. 1950) has been working on his long-term project, which is dedicated to living spaces in rural areas, since the 1980s. With great personal engagement, Rosswog has traveled to numerous regions in Europe, has been to small, sometimes remote villages and settlements in order to track down the most authentic, traditional agricultural or artisanal way of life–without ignoring the influences of modern globalization.
The current exhibition shows a selection from several photographic series developed in Portugal. Two were created in Barrancos, a small town in the southern Alentejo region, right on the Spanish border. The history of the Alentejo district, in Portuguese "across the (river) Tejo", is characterized by wealthy landowners, in whose service farm workers and day laborers often worked under precarious conditions. The climate is very dry and hot, especially in the south, so the cultivation of the soil is correspondingly laborious and the harvest correspondingly meager. In view of Rosswog's photographs, one might think of “Raised from the Ground”, the novel by the Nobel Prize winner for literature José Saramago, which uses the example of a family to describe the living conditions of this impoverished class. Today the situation has improved significantly, tourism and investors from abroad have arrived.
Martin Rosswog photographed an apartment on a property belonging to former large landowners, which is occupied by Maria del Carmen Garcia de Figueiredo and her former domestic worker Maria Teresa Neves Carualho. Rosswog has comprehensively documented a total of four different properties owned by large landowners in Barrancos and the surrounding area. In contrast to these richly furnished rooms and buildings, which testify to the prosperity and sense of class over generations, the house of Maria José Caçador Bergamo appears much more modest. But as cramped as the rooms seem, in Martin Rosswog's sensitive images, through his sense for composition and his eye for details, a personal cosmos with family memorabilia and references to everyday living conditions fan out in great detail.
Two further series of images presented in the exhibition were taken in the Trás-os-Montes region, which is located in northeastern Portugal, on the border to Galicia in Spain. The photographs by Martin Rosswog show two apartments in the small mountain villages of Vale de Algoso and Vilar Chá. Historically, the “land behind the mountains” has a different economic structure than in Alentejo in the south. No large land ownership, but many small farmers work the land, sometimes in the traditional way to this day. Nevertheless, many left the country in the 1960s to look for work in France or Switzerland, for example. Some of them returned when they were retired.
?A project funded by the EU supports the structural preservation of typical farmsteads and the research of traditional farming methods. An employee of the project accompanied the photographer in an advisory capacity over a longer period of time. Both of the long documentary trips to the regions of Portugal that Martin Rosswog undertook were prepared and funded by the Departamento de Antropologia, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Lisbon. The city of Barrancos supported the project with an assistant with whom Martin Rosswog selected the houses to be photographed.
Martin Rosswog works in systematically arranged series of images in which he documents a house or farmstead he has found. A portrait of the residents is part of it, outside views of the building and the property and finally the illumination of the interior with more closely examined details. He mostly uses a large format camera, preferring color. Rosswog sometimes decides for black and white when looking at the outside of the place or the surrounding landscape. In the course of the decades an impressive artistic work has emerged that shows a world that has partly shaped the context of life over centuries and is now increasingly disappearing.
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur showed Martin Rosswog's impressive work in a retrospective in 2015 and several times in group exhibitions; the in-house collection includes numerous works from his archive.
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Im Mediapark 7, 50670 Cologne
Tel: +49 221 88895300, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.photographie-sk-kultur.de