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Laurenz Berges

Maintaining and Disappearing

Special places and changing living environments are the starting point of Laurenz Berges’ photographic works, which always follow a development process lasting several years. Since the 1990s, his documentary and at the same time poetic series of works have shed a remarkable light on abandoned or deserted areas around Etzweiler, Duisburg and parts of eastern Germany.

Mudersbach, the place not far from Siegen that was Bernd Becher’s second home in his youth, has long interested Laurenz Berges. Becher maintained a link with his grandparents’ house throughout his life. He loved the atmosphere in the small village. Following his interest in biographical stories, for the past four years, Berges has been photographing the half-timbered house in which nothing has been allowed to change. The project is the starting point of an exhibition at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, which juxtaposes photographs of two Becher houses directly related to the Hilla and Bernd Becher’s origins and living and working places in Siegen and Düsseldorf for the first time. More than could be achieved by a portrait, these photos show the circumstances of the famous artist couple’s work and life. They are supplemented by a selection of Becher typologies, previously unseen collages by Bernd Becher, and personal collectibles/found objects from the Bechers’ house.  Thus, the specific inner life of the half-timbered houses in the Siegerland that became famous with the Bechers also becomes exemplary of recent history in Germany.

Thomas Thiel

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