Berndt & Hilla Becher
My first intentions were to photograph objects – non-architectural industrial structures – and then cut the pictures out, paste them together as montages, as collages. [...] Then we saw that if the photographs are placed side by side, they begin to relate. You can very well perceive things that differ little from each other as individual elements, if you assemble them in groups. [...] Only when you put them beside each other do you see their individuality. (B. Becher, 2002)
Bernd Becher and Hilla Wobeser Becher were born, respectively, at Siegen on August 20, 1931, and at Potsdam on September 2 1934. Bernd studied painting at the Staatliche Kunstakademie of Stuttgart (1953-56) and then typography at the Staatliche Kunstakademie of Düsseldorf (1957-61). Hilla did an apprenticeship as a photographer and worked commercially in Hamburg and Düsseldorf, where she also attended the Kunstakademie. She developed the ideas in some shots taken by Becher in 1957. From 1959 on the two worked together documenting derelict industrial buildings from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, keeping strictly to black and white and using frontal shots set against a neutral white ground, conferring the dignity of sculpture on anonymous industrial structures. Between 1959 and 1963 they photographed factories around Siegen and in the Ruhr and from 1961 they extended this work of cataloguing by traveling through Europe and North America (1968), winning the support and respect of artists working in the conceptual and minimalist fields, such as Richard Long and Carl Andre. Already winners of a British Council Photo Grant (1966), in 1972 they participated in Documenta 5 at Kassel, where they exhibited again in 1982. From 1976 to 1996 Bernd Becher was professor of the Department of Photography which he had created together with his wife at the Düsseldorfer Kunstakademie. In 1990 the 44th Venice Biennale awarded them the Leone d’Oro for Sculpture. In 2004 they received the international photography prize awarded by the Hasselblad Foundation. Bernd Becher died at Rostock on June 22, 2007. Hilla Becher lives and works in Düsseldorf.
8 B/W photos
|Materials||16 black and white photographs|
14.12.12 | 01.04.13