Tag Archives: Skulpturen

The Bechers on Display at Paris Photo

The work of the photographic duo Bernd and Hilla Becher is indisputably some of the most important in modern photography. This week, a two-part exhibit at Paris Photo highlights the historical significance of the Bechers, most well known for their “typologies”—uniform, photographic studies of industrial structures such as water towers and blast furnaces.

The first part of the show, Bernd and Hilla Becher—Printed materials 1964-2012, features an extensive collection of rare ephemera related to the Bechers’ work. These objects, including posters, invitations and museum catalogues, were amassed by curator and book dealer Antoine de Beaupré for more than ten years.

“You get an historical overview,” said Beaupré. “and also an evolution of how their work developed over the years, especially in the beginning.”

One highlight of the collection is the magazine Anonyme Skulpturen which was printed in 1969 to accompany an exhibition of the Bechers’ work in Düsseldorf. This work would become a monograph of the same name, published in 1970, which is also featured in the Paris show.

The printed objects collected by Beupré represent the Bechers’ work from 1964 to 1977, while a presentation of their monographs, mounted under plexiglass and affixed to the gallery walls, span from 1970 to the present day.

The second section of the Paris show features a selection of 117 photographs chosen by Hilla Becher (Bernd Becher passed away in 2007) from the 1977 book Zeche Zollern II – Photographs of Bernd & Hilla Becher. Together, these prints, objects and publications are a comprehensive tribute to the Bechers’ long and prolific photographic career.

Antoine de Beaupré is a curator and the founder of the Librairie 213 in Paris.

Bernd and Hilla Becher—Printed materials 1964-2012 is on display at Paris Photo from Nov. 15 to 18.

Bernhard and Hilla Becher: Ephemera, Catalogs and Books from Librairie 213

I am finally home again after the second leg of my European tour. Can’t say I am happy about that but the photobook burn out I felt after the Kassel Photobook Festival, which started my trip back in May, seems like such a distant memory now. All of my new acquisitions have more or less made it safely to the States and I am going to ease back into regular postings if time permits.

My brain is still recovering from the trip so I thought I would start with a book/catalog which doesn’t require much effort from me. It is an overview of ephemera, catalogs and books that have been published on Bernhard and Hilla Becher from Librairie 213.

Librairie 213 is the French book dealer Antoine De Beaupre. Some of you might know him from the Galerie 213 and the slickly designed exhibition catalogs they published in the late 1990s – most notably, one on William Eggleston that has all the plates tipped onto the pages.

This catalog on the Becher’s work starts with their earliest appearance in an art magazine review in Die Sonde in 1964 and progresses through their recent books published as late as 2010. Much of the early ephemera such as promotional posters for Anonyme Skulpturen and exhibition announcement cards are the reason to pick this catalog up as many of these items have been lost to history. Last year at Paris Photo Antoine had a framed copy of the Anonyme Skulpturen poster from the Moderna Museet and if expendable income were at my disposal, it would be on my wall right now.

With each entry there is only the most basic of publishing information, all in French, so this teeters between being just a sales catalog (no prices are listed) and a bibliography for Becher scholars. It was printed in an edition of 500 with 50 copies numbered and signed by Hilla Becher.

As with all of Antoine’s publications, the design is by Olivier Andreotti of Toluca Studio. At approximately 11 x 11 inches and with high production standards but for the occasional slight Morey patterning in the plates you might over look the 25 euro cover price.

Note: There is no mention of this book on the Librairie 213 website but perhaps email Antoine about getting a copy.

Each year, seemingly made and given free as sales pieces for Paris Photo, Antoine has produced a few other fine catalogs. In 2007, his booklet on 31 Japanese books from 1968 and 1982 is worth looking for if there are any left floating around. Although it is well-trod territory and most of the books won’t be a surprise, again the production standards are wonderful.

The same goes for his book on German photobooks En Allemagne from 2008. This one charts an implied timeline of 66 books starting with Renger-Patzsh and Rudolf Schwarz’s Wegweigsung der Technik and ending with Jorg Sasse‘s D8207. Neither of these last two catalogs specify how many were made.