Photography has come to be identified internationally with the artistic production of Düsseldorf over the last few decades, and the consolidated Düsseldorf School today epitomizes excellence in its highly varied and innovative practice of the medium. The extraordinary success of this phenomenon, developed in a very precise geographic and artistic context, has not given rise as yet, however, to in-depth examination. This book intends to fill the gap with an organic study of a German movement that is comparable in terms of global impact and resonance solely to the Bauhaus in the 1920s. It all started with Bernd and Hilla Becher, who inaugurated the photography course at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1976, precisely when their “typologies” were gaining recognition on the national and international artistic scene.
Starting from the renewal of documentary photography pursued by the Bechers with the utmost coherence and commitment, the three generations of artists of the Düsseldorf School have broadened the photographic horizons considerably, venturing with their works into the spheres of multimedia experimentation and digital art. Highly prized on the market and sought after by the world’s leading museums, the works of the Bechers’ former students shed light today on the future developments of the art of photography.
Eleven different aesthetic stances and eleven very personal approaches to harnessing the medium’s potential are gathered together in a book that presents the most significant photographs selected jointly with the individual artists concerned. The text by Stefan Gronert (1964) examines the phenomenon and focuses on the members of the Düsseldorf School. An art historian, curator at the Bonn Kunstmuseum since 1993, teacher in the art history department of Bonn University since 2001 and lecturer in the universities of Dresden and Cologne, Gronert has written numerous publications and papers on the photography of the 20th and 21st century.