Brohm uses imagery and stylistic devices that transcend the documentary medium to examine the differences in appearance of some of the iconic Bauhaus buildings.
A century after the founding of the Bauhaus, these buildings are in varying stages of preservation and conservation, restoration and renovation, demolition, rebuilding, interpretation, and even reinterpretation. In what way does our approach to this cultural heritage change our perception of it?
»Dessau Files« brings together a selection of different images from three groups of works photographed at different times in Dessau by the German artist. Although created independently of each other, the projects are linked thematically and by their location.
Brohm focused on Dessau as a unique modernist space already in 1990. The few remaining masters’ houses, built by Walter Gropius in the mid-1920s, were about to be renovated. This early series of original masters’ houses has been captured in the classic tradition of colour documentary photography.
In 2014, some of the Dessau Bauhaus buildings destroyed in the Second World War or by later demolition were reconstructed – and even reinterpreted – with the aid of contemporary architecture. In 2015, Brohm created a series of individual images of these new masters’ houses and the restored refreshment kiosk by Mies van der Rohe. Always critically examining his own medium Brohm used a contemporary interpretation of the aesthetic methods of twentieth-century architectural photography for this series.
The Bauhaus Museum Dessau will open this year to mark the centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus. Brohm has been documenting the construction of the museum as part of a collaboration with the architects and the portrait photographer Valentina Seidel since 2017. Current works from this context —including inserts by Valentina Seidel— will be shown for the first time in the Vienna exhibition.
Joachim Brohm’s photographic work is moving increasingly from the serial context of his early works towards individual images. His interest in conceptual connections complements the archive’s documentary approach.
Dessau Files is the first solo exhibition of works by Joachim Brohm in Vienna. The exhibition takes place as part of the new photo festival FOTO WIEN (20 March – 20 April 2019).all images © the gallery and the artist(s)