An exhibition of Bernd and Hilla Becher’s basic forms of industrial buildings will arrive at the Sprüth Magers Gallery this September. Cultural meaning given back to the anonymous functional façade
Who are Bernd & Hilla Bercher?
German husband and wife, artist-duo Bernd and Hilla Becher influenced a whole generation of photographers and conceptual artists with their impartial and vigorous method of photographing old industrial sites. From their meeting in 1959 the couple were fascinated by the careful design of buildings, often destined to be destroyed. By capturing enigmatic images of these much overlooked sites, the artists harnessed the cultural significance of even the most mundane building. Collecting hundreds of images of individual structures across Germany and Western Europe, Bernd and Hilla Becher acknowledged that relics of European conflict such as cooling towers, gas tanks and coalbunkers could share formal qualities and be revered for their individual design. London has praised these unique artists previously in a 1998 exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre and as part of a group show, Cruel and Tender, at the Tate Modern in 2003 - the museum’s first major photographic display.
Through a series of five large-scale grids made up of black and white photographs, as well as single large-scale images, this show expresses the Berchers’ central idea that an unassuming, anonymous structure can be a beautiful sculpture. The grid format forces us to compare each structure in a systematic manner focusing on their form. There is no context and we have only the external appearance of each building on which to base our judgements. Crucially the artist couple gave attention and respect to each facade in the same way ‘a biologist might look at a specimen collected during fieldwork’. The Bechers also delighted in highlighting buildings that had a personal history to a local community such as the structure used to transfer coal along the River Ouse in Yorkshire entitled Tom Pudding Hoise, Goole (1997). Here the modest building is given greater cultural significance as the subject of the artist’s study and a site fading of memory.
|What||Bernd and Hilla Becher, Sprüth Magers|
|Where||Sprüth Magers, 7A Grafton St, London , W1S 4EJ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Green Park (underground)|
03 Sep 14 – 04 Oct 14, 12:00 AM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here for more information|