Typological, repetitive, at times oddly humorous, Bernd and Hilla Becher's photographs of industrial structures are, in their cumulative effect, profoundly moving. The Becher's serenely cool, disarmingly objective, and notoriously obsessive images of watertowers, gas tanks, grain elevators, blast furnaces, and mine heads have been taken over a period of almost thirty yearsTypological, repetitive, at times oddly humorous, Bernd and Hilla Becher's photographs of industrial structures are, in their cumulative effect, profoundly moving. The Becher's serenely cool, disarmingly objective, and notoriously obsessive images of watertowers, gas tanks, grain elevators, blast furnaces, and mine heads have been taken over a period of almost thirty years, under overcast skies, with a view camera that captures each detail and tonality of wood, concrete, brick, and steel."Blast Furnaces "represents a continuation of, but also a counterpoint to the Bechers' earlier book "Watertowers. "There basic functional elements were hidden or clothed in disguises, whereas the 256 duotone prints included here record a purely functional and exposed architecture, built to contain heat, pressure, and accumulations of gases and unhindered by any outside constraints.The blast furnace is the symbol of the steel industry. Like other building types which attract the Bechers, it is also an endangered industrial species. Essentially giant, cone-shaped circular stoves, blast furnaces dominate the cityscapes of Pittsburgh, Youngstown, and Birmingham much as religious structures dominated medieval cities. These photographs, taken between 1961 and 1989, convey the unique characteristics, physical complexity, and eerie presence in the landscape of blast furnaces in Great Britain, Belgium, France, Austria, Germany, and the United States.Bernd and Hilla Becher teach at the Dusseldorf Art Academy. They began their collaborative photographic enterprise in 1957, when they did a study of workers' houses in their native Germany. The Bechers follow in a distinguished line of German photographers that includes August Sander, Albert Renger-Patzsch, and Werner Manz, all of whom contributed in different ways to the definition of "objective" photography. A selection of their photographs is on view throughout 1990 at the Dia Art Foundation galleries in New York, and they will represent Germany in the 1990 Venice Biennale....
|Number of Pages||:||15 Pages|
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Blast Furnaces Reviews
These grotty industrial leviathans are strangely fascinating. The pictures are so meticulously conceived you can almost smell the scorched air, it's really quite romantic. Seriously though, the Bechers are deities of industrial photography, and the creepy almost organic appearance of some of these furnaces look as though they may have influenced some of H.R. Giger's work. My favorite photograph is the one of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, an astounding view of a soot-stained cemetery, the row houses where the steel workers lived, and the towering furnaces looming in the background. Fantastic. (I was going to complete my Becher trilogy by following this with Industrial Facades, but it went out of print before I could nab it and price became exorbitant. Sigh..)
A photography book, part of a series of industrial structures put out by MIT Press. Well documented blast furnace structures. Industrial decay and art.