The Becher Class
The Städel Museum staged a comprehensive survey on the Becher Class at the Düsseldorf art academy and the major paradigm shift in the medium of artistic photography with which the Bechers and their students are associated. With the aid of some 200 photographs by Volker Döhne, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Axel Hütte, Tata Ronkholz, Thomas Ruff, Jörg Sasse, Thomas Struth and Petra Wunderlich – a group of whom some enjoy international renown and others are due for rediscovery –, the exhibition examined the influence exerted by Bernd and Hilla Becher on their students at the Düsseldorf school. What unites the students’ works with those of their teachers? How do they differ? Is there really such a thing as the “Becher School” or is it ‘merely’ a matter of several highly successful photographers who happened to be studying at the ‘right place’ at an especially propitious moment in history? And how have those artists influenced our present conception of what a picture is?
Taking the artist duo’s work as a point of departure, the exhibition “Photographs Become Pictures. The Becher Class” acquainted viewers with the radical changes in the medium of artistic photography that became manifest in the works of the Becher pupils in the eighties and above all the nineties, and investigated the art-historical impact of this development up to the very present. It featured major large-scale works as well as key early endeavours by the members of what is presumably the most influential generation of German photographers in the field of fine art.
Andreas Gursky, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, © Andreas Gursky / Courtesy Sprüth Magers / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021
Thomas Ruff, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021
CURATOR Dr. Martin Engler (Head of Contemporary Art Collection, Städel Museum), Dr. Jana Baumann (Städel Museum)
SPONSORED BY: DZ BANK AG
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