Bernd and Hilla Becher. Mines and Mills – Industrial Landscapes
For forty years, the photographer couple Bernd and Hilla Becher worked on creating an inventory of industrial architecture. Factory buildings, head frames, gas domes, steel mills, as well as half-timbered houses are among the subjects they photographed in Germany, England, France, Central Europe, and the USA. They call these buildings “anonymous sculptures,” referring to the artistic quality of the constructions, which played no conscious role for the buildings’ largely unknown builders and users. Their photographs are intended to highlight the hidden sculptural qualities and to document them historically as a building culture in decline. Bernd and Hilla Becher always dedicated themselves with particular interest to the industrial architecture of the Ruhr region. In this exhibition, this part of their production is systematically examined for the first time. The exhibition does not concentrate on individual buildings but rather takes a look at the sites on the whole and their placement within urban or natural surroundings. This image type, described by the Bechers as “industrial landscape,” compares the Ruhr region to similar complexes in Germany, Europe, and the USA.
The exhibition was curated by Thomas Seelig. A cooperation with the the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop.