Ihme Zentrum. 4 Fotografien, 8 Ausschnitte
200014.0186915887851515 €in den Warenkorb
33.5 × 47.5 cm
kuratiert von Karsten Heller, Thomas Scheibitz
DIAMONDPAPER #02 is published on the occasion of »Cruel and Tender: The Real in Twentieth Century Photography« (5 June – 7 September 2003), the first exhibition at Tate Modern to be dedicated to photography.
The legendary photographer Michael Schmidt who, alongside artists like Robert Frank, Andreas Gursky and August Sander presents works in »Cruel and Tender« that are representative of his more than four decades long career, has created an original piece for the second issue of DIAMONDPAPER.
Under the title »Ihme Zentrum. 4 Fotografien, 8 Ausschnitte«, he has conceived of a series of black-and-white photographs for the large format edition. The photographical work of the Berlin artist rises to unexpected heights at this juncture. Here, his various working methods (serializations, »extracts«, etc.), through which he has repeatedly managed to reinvent photography over the last few decades, are employed symbiotically. On the eight excellently printed pages, Schmidt focuses on a megalomanic building complex built in the 1970s which »he ›re-mixes‹ in the course of a process of de- and subsequent re-construction.«
In Hannover, where I spent my youth in the 1980‘s, Linden was a part of the city where Lower Saxony´s putative bohemia hung out. The area was known for unusual bars and cafes, a laid-back-intellectual arthouse cinema and an alternative event space called Glocksee. You would go to Linden to get a drink in the evening or to have brunch on Sunday morning, to see concerts by bands like Jingo de Lunch or Motörhead. Before the concerts started you would sit at the bank of the adjacent river, the Ihme, and you would, with the upcomingact in mind, drink some beer to get into the right mood. This ritual was accompanied by an unforgettable sight. Like a mountain, the Ihme Zentrum stood in front of us on the other side of the river, a complex built between 1972–1975 in the wake of the 1960’s euphoria, which drove city planners to construct ever more gigantic building complexes. It was a relic from the phase of utopian building, from the technocratic notion of the planability of social processes – the only one of its kind in Hannover.
But though that giant appeared to us as a utopia, it was a fading one however. The pedestrian walkways had long ago found themselves in a state of urban decay, one that was familiar to us from the run down look of the central train station; the bright colours of the skyscrapers were no longer shining, the degenerate facades were overlayed with pollutant-induced patina, that evoked memories of industrial suburbs like Neustadt. In short, the complex of more than 800 apartments, offices, shops and the event centre Capitol, looked like an autonomous city, had mutated into a space where you wouldn´t want to be and particularly not at night when, run down und untidy, it adopted a sinister junkie-look. It is this space, now being renovated, that Michael Schmidt in 1997/98 captured and, for the second edition of DIAMONDPAPER, has transformed into an original and autonomous piece entitled »Ihme Zentrum. 4 Fotografien, 8 Ausschnitte.« (»Ihme Zentrum. 4 Photographs, 8 Extracts.«)
The photographer who was born in 1945 became accessible to a wider public following »Ein-heit«, a post German unification project suspended between historic documentarism and conceptual photo-art. With »Ihme Zentrum«, Schmidt revisits familiar ground: In book projects like »Berlin – Kreuzberg«(1973) and »Stadtlandschaften 1981« (1981) he repeatedly approached the city and time and time again made it look like a landscape. A lasting impression is left behind by Schmidt´s Berlin photographs, which capture with his idiosyncratic camera-eye forgotten non-spaces. They show the no man´s land that came into existence during the separation of East- and West-Berlin, its wild grass and ruin-like buildings – subjects that appear to be suspended in a transhistorical state and that could be elements of those early paintings by romantic artist William Turner. In Schmidt´s both objective and painterly pictures, such elements are rendered in multifarious and almost monochromatic grey tones and thereby assume a new quality. His photographic aesthetic also sheds new light on theIhme Zentrum.
In the first place he captures part of the architectural complex from a birds’ eye view and juxtaposes this with a »wall sample« and then finally he »re-mixes« the building in the course of a process of de- and subsequent re-construction. Details from the interior life of the Ihme Zentrum blend cool minimalism in the style of the streamlined surfaces of a black 80´s BMW body-work with the geometric Modernism of constructivist paintings a la Mondrian. This is a highly formal approach that, along with techniquessuch as »extracts« and serializations has been an ongoing concern in Schmidt´s oeuvre and reaches a climax here. An approach, which next to the »x-raying of an amnesia«, as Heinz Liesbrock in a different context once characterised the work of Michael Schmidt, is also put into the service of remixing memories: art historical, urbanist as well as individual-biographical layers are dismantled and subsequently sedimented anew in photographs that, in terms of precision and refinery, certainly lack soul mates.