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Götz Diergarten: typisch typologisch 

Götz Diergarten: typisch typologisch

Location: EMDE GALLERY - Mainz

Götz Diergarten


Emde Gallery is very pleased to present the exhibition 'typisch typologisch' ('typically typological') with photographs by Götz Diergarten from May 13th to 25th of June. Götz Diergarten - one of the last and youngest graduates of Bernd and Hilla Becher's famous class at the Düsseldorf Art Academy - is one of the most important German photographic artists. In the Emde Gallery, he will present selected works from different groups of works that offer a cross-section of his engagement with the photographic image, which has now lasted almost three decades.

The opening will take place on Friday, 13th of May, from 6 pm. The artist will be present.

Götz Diergarten's photographs are devoted to everyday architecture: ordinary houses and their façades are just as much of interest as plain, wooden beach huts or subway stations. The buildings in the photographs are rarely captured in their structural entirety. The artist mainly shows smaller or larger details, isolates façades, windows or other building elements from a larger context. In doing so, he depicts reality as he finds it: Nothing is staged or changed, no subsequent digital manipulations take place. He is an 'image finder' and not an 'image inventor', as he himself repeatedly emphasises.

The heterogeneity of the photographs, which come from his immediate surroundings or are taken on journeys and usually follow his own search, is initially held together by a conceptual rigour reminiscent of the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher and an ostensibly objective gaze. Götz Diergarten also works serially, in broadly conceived groups of works, and likes to arrange his photographs - as the title already indicates - as typologies in order, according to the artist, 'to emphasise the individual in the uniform or to make it comparable'. This is illustrated, for example, by the photographs of beach huts from Belgium, Normandy and England from the years 2001 to 2005, a selection of which can be seen in the exhibition, or the Duisburg windows from 2018, which have been put together to form a typology of nine. The same applies to the picture 'Nowa Huta', from the series of the same name from 2010/11. Here, the viewer looks head-on at the multi-storey façade of a uniform high-rise. The loggia-like niches painted red, green, yellow and orange - as well as the three trees in the foreground - form a strong contrast to the grey, cold façade and testify to the desire for individualisation and differentiation.

Here, another central aspect of his artistic work comes to light: Götz Diergarten photographs exclusively in colour. The colourfulness is of decisive importance for the constitution of the image and, with its strong affinity to unnoticed places and unspectacular motifs, lends the works a painterly quality. The photographs of the series 'Pirmasens' from 2013, which show precisely centred sections of façades that one often carelessly passes by in everyday life, exemplify this. The photographs are flat, enlivened only by the structure of the wall. They do not merely depict narrow sections of house walls, but at the same time appear as abstract constellations of four differently coloured surfaces that relate to each other horizontally and vertically, so that they can almost be read as abstract colour field paintings.

Similarly, the photographs of the Prague Metro wall tiles in different colours, which were taken in connection with his METROpolis series, begun in 2006 and which has been continuously developed since then, show underground subway stations in various European capitals. With their concave depressions and convex curvatures reduced to a two-dimensional surface, the photographs of the Prague Metro again show parallels to pictorial inventions of abstract painting. Apart from that, they are reminiscent of punch cards or strips.

While the sober documentary style and the typological coherence of the serial image sequences seem to refer to the objective character of the medium, the painterly dimension underlines the abstract qualities in Götz Diergarten's pictures that point to beyond what is depicted. His photographs are depictions of found (and deemed worthy of being depicted) reality, but also autonomous images; on the one hand they seem documentary, on the other highly artificial and well composed; they seem factually neutral and yet testify to a very personal view.
The artist himself describes his works as photographic images and thus gets to the heart of the dialectical moment underlying his works. Moreover, they always play with the viewer's perception and the possibilities of seeing. The incidental, which is otherwise not shown much attention, is revealed in such a way as that a conscious perception of it becomes possible.

Götz Diergarten (*1972 in Mannheim) studied fine arts and photography with Bernd Becher at the Düsseldorf Art Academy from 1993 to 1998, then photography at the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst in Zurich, and is one of the most important German photo artists. Works by Götz Diergarten are represented in important national and international collections and have been published in numerous exhibition catalogues.


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