In my complete ignorance, I’d never heard of Bernd and Hilla Becher, and their legendary course at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art. But I guess we can’t know everything – and now I know a little more about them after visiting the latest exhibition at the NAFA Galleries in Bencoolen Street.
Their vision and style is almost painfully austere and restrained – and their protégé (who make up the bulk of the exhibition) show no signs of deviating from their master’s blueprint. But that’s not a bad thing!! The consistency of tone and style is a seductively strong link that bonds the work of nine artists together. It was startling and inspiring to see this line running through the work, making it almost tangible in my mind’s eye.
Highlights for me were seeing early Andreas Gursky work (giving me an insight into how his later and incredible work developed) and the Becher black and whites that reminded (or informed??) me that one dull black and white photography can be part of a magnificent symphony when it’s part of a series.
Ignore all my big words and sentences that don’t really make a lot of sense – JUST GO and SEE IT FOR YOURSELF (with an open mind)!
Oh, if you care for or understand the images of the incredibly dull cabbage garden, do drop me a comment! Perhaps I am just a Philistine, but a series made up entirely of pictures of the world’s most uninteresting vegetable patch leaves me doubting my discovery about photo series (see above)!
It’s on till 1 November 2009
11am – 7pm (Closed on Mondays & Public Holidays)
NAFA Galleries 1 & 2
NAFA Campus 1
80 Bencoolen Street
Entrance: FREE!!! (just go!)
Here’s the guff from the NAFA website:
Proximity is dedicated to the legendary artistic vision of Bernd and Hilla Becher, and their former students of photography at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art. Also known as the ‘Becher School’, this group was where internationally renowned and critically acclaimed photographers, such as Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth, have emerged from. Curated by Wulf Herzogenrath and ifa, the exhibition featuring 76 works of nine artists, presents not just an important chapter in the exciting history of German photography, but very much a major aesthetic breakthrough in the history of art itself.