Item description for Joachim Brohm: Areal by Regina Bittner Urs Stahel...
For roughly a decade, from 1992 to 2002, Joachim Brohm undertook a photographic project of long-term urban observation. At the same location on the outskirts of a German city, he took hundreds of pictures of redevelopment, recording the place as it was transformed from a 1950s commercial/industrial district into a gentrified post-industrial services center and living area. In a meditative response to these changes, Brohm cartographically captured the premises, their buildings and materials, and chronologically documented the developments during this period. Brohm's pictorial idiom--characterized by a dissolved center, with layering and composition referencing the continuation of space beyond the frame's limits--is both documentary and deconstructive. His photographs simultaneously depict and dissolve the outside world, lending the transitory, hovering state of reality and meaning a powerful pictorial form.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Joachim Brohm: Areal?
middle middle uber alles Jun 4, 2004
Areal is a project about a project. First there's the urban renewal project centering on a square block in Munich, Germany. Then there's the ten-year documentary project about this same area conducted by german photographer Joachim Brohm. In some ways, Brohm's book is about change-from an industrial site to a housing complex, but, in some ways it's about how things remain the same. The stained concrete, the triangle sign, the gas staton in winter and spring, the vw stationwagon are present in the first and last pages of the book (arranged chronologically). Think of it as a document of transition in which the world never quite transforms but hovers somewhere in the present, always in the act of becoming, always one thing and another. There's no endpoint here, just middle as far as the eye can see. Cars and trees and girders and girls, all in transition, always in transition.
Like the project itself, Brohm's method of depiction remains transitory and elusive. Unlike the romanticized and commodified landscape of Andreas Gursky or the close-up, blurred everyday of Wolfgang Tillmans, Brohm never relies on a single visual vocabulary or gesture. Instead, he breaks down the commonplace into the visual qualities that characterize it: rapturous complexity, unexpected beauty, random color, overlapping styles, omnipresent and always broken grids, and the near miraculous power of the most deadpan human interactions.
The result doesn't feel like the story of a singular place or of a singular perception; instead it feels like the story of someone paying attention--like the project itself, an extended look into a transient perceptual intelligence. That intelligence isn't about codifying and thus finishing something: it's about the endless wanderings of human curiosity: Noticing one thing and then noticing another and then noticing something new about what you noticed before. There are no rules undrlying Areal, only observations; no final message, only the next message in a dynamic perceptual middle. That's the secret of paying attention. It's also the prize.