until 21.04. | #1912ARTatBerlin | Konrad Fischer Galerie currently shows the exhibition “Gas Tank” by the photographers Bernd & Hilla Becher.
Bernd and Hilla Becher already began taking photographs of mining and steel plants in the early 1960s, capturing images of machinery and functional architecture that was often on the verge of disappearing. Pursuing an encyclopedic approach, in a period of over five decades they created a comprehensive visual compendium of the mining and steel industry.
In their black and white photography, they developed a consistent system early on. Central perspective, the avoidance of dramatized effects and an enormous depth of field isolate the functional buildings as objects from their environments, a uniquely radical pictorial concept. The Düsseldorf artist couple understood their oeuvre as more than just a contribution to documenting the industrial heritage. In Anonyme Skulpturen, a catalogue that appeared to mark their first exhibition at Konrad Fischer in 1970, they described their work: “In this book, we show objects that are primarily instrumental in character: their shapes are the result of calculation and their process of development can be optically followed. They are essentially buildings where anonymity becomes recognizable as a stylistic principle. Their unique form emerged not despite, but due to a lack of design.” In 1972, just two years later, their works were shown at Documenta V as part of the Idea Section curated by Konrad Fischer and Klaus Honnef, together with artists such as Daniel Buren, John Baldessari and stanley brouwn. With their joint work and their teaching at Düsseldorf’s Kunstakademie from 1976 to 1996, the artist couple played a key role in the development and emancipation of photography after 1945.
The current exhibition focuses on gas tanks used at coking plants and smelting facilities. Used at urban gas plants and in the industrial process as intermediate storage units they create a balance between need and production. In contrast to other storage facilities, like water towers or silos, the gases stored cannot mix with the surrounding air so the container has to shrink or expand depending on the volume of gas contained in the tank. According to their construction principle, there are four different types: telescopic, spirally-guided, disk and spherical gasholders. While in a telescopic gasholder, with increasing volume the gas bell and outer wall segments rise out of a water basin along the guiding scaffolding and make the content volume visual on the outside, spherical gas containers regulate the changing volume by way of pressure.
The exhibition Bernd & Hilla Becher, Gas Tanks presents the various basic forms in all their diversity in typologies and a series of individual photographs.
Select Exhibitions: Documentas V, VI, VII, XI; Venice Biennale, 1990; Kunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, 2003/2004; Tate Modern, London, 2003; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 2005; Die Photographische Sammlung, SK Stiftung Kultur, 2006, 2010, 2013; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2010; Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2013.
Awards include: Golden Lion, Venice, 1990; Goslarer Kaiserring, 1994; Staatspreis des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, 2001; Erasmuspreis, 2002; Großer Kulturpreis der Sparkassen-Kulturstiftung Rheinland, 2014.
Huis Marseille, Amsterdam, presents the exhibition Bernd, Hilla and the Others: Photography from Düsseldorf until June 3. The Josef Albers Museum Quadrat, Bottrop, presents Kunst & Kohle (Art and Coal): Bernd und Hilla Becher from May 5 – September 16, 2018.
Vernissage: Friday, 23rd February 2018, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Exhibition period: Friday, 23rd February – Saturday, 21st April 2018Zur Konrad Fischer Galerie
Image caption: Bernd und Hilla Becher – Gasbehälter Duisburg-Bruckhausen, D, 1973, b/w photo, 60 x 50 cm
Exhibition Bernd + Hilla Becher – Gasbehälter – Konrad Fischer Galerie | ART at Berlin