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"Mines and cabins": The 'Bottrop Quadrat' shows photographs of Bernd and Hilla Becher
Bottrop. One may naturally wonder how the industrial culture in the Ruhr stood today without the famous Becher's view. Without the thousands of images - water towers, shelters and blast furnace, coal bunkers and gravel - may hardly be called documentary photography, but because they secretly is a declaration of love: unsentimental, but nevertheless deeply. Formally rigorous, yet of enormous dedication.
It is a selfless love, in his own art, then withdraws behind the object. And yet it has made the Bechers to world stars. Awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale. Celebrated in her role as pioneers of conceptual art. Idols for a whole generation of photographers; celebrities - which we now summarize under the term Becher school. The Josef Albers Museum Quadrat in Bottrop now honors the Bechers with an exhibition that moves first time, not the individual object, but the industrial landscape in the heart of "mines and cabins."
Two and a half years after the death of Bernd Becher - wife, Hilla, the sole manager of a well incomparable oeuvre. And those who watch this, clever and facing mid-seventies met the true sense of the memory of the industrial culture, a vanishing colossal landscape full of towers, ovens and bunkers. "I know by heart the names and place" insured, Hilla Becher, as she walks past the 150 pictures exhibited: Zeche Helene Essen, Zeche Lohberg Dinslaken, Henrichshütte Hattingen, Concordia Zeche Oberhausen, but also Pennsylvania, Nemacolin Mine and Caerau Collicry, South Wales.
Silent monuments to a bygone era are framed under the always slightly overcast skies, mostly still leafless trees and a gentle melancholy. "Anonymous sculptures" have the cup detected in these very early on function and structures constructed out of profit. Expands in Bottrop, this isolated view of the single object composed of overview, the juxtaposition of industry and life. Who likes, can see from the pictures geological discerned and geographical, architectural and economic differences. Can see next to the imposing, highly complex system of Duisburg-Ruhrort the crumbling ruins of a tower support family farm in Pennsylvania. The Bechers were world travelers in terms of heavy industry since the late 1950s, when the idea of World Heritage mines were still far away. But the Bechers were not approach from the outset of the inventory in storage in the collective memory, which developed only gradually. But no one before has the aesthetics of the conveyor belts and braces, the brick as soon recognized as intensively as the Düsseldorf photographers. Early developed, the common view, the fascination for the Functional, the individual in the standard, the grandeur of the utilitarian - and Deserted. Even the cup were sometimes difficult access to these appliances industry, and fell into the 50s at times even the suspicion of industrial espionage. Why else would also photograph winding towers?
Adventurous was the life of the Bechers in each case, they sometimes lived for weeks in mining families in Wales or in mobile homes, to make preparations to seek approvals to find the exact location. And you can still just amazed at how much heart and soul it takes to provide factual and clear photography. "It must not be sentimental, not to be socially, not too dull. A certain austerity has already passed since we agreed" says Hilla Becher and laughs heartily, "sunsets were not for us."