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…Further images within images add to the sense of a lived space as Becher family photos from the 20s and 30s adorn mantels and countertops, with a finesse of an image, ala the Bechers, of a water town, sat, out of frame, lithely resting against a presumed wedding photograph. Newspapers and euros index the surfaces, and an errant desk drawer or two is opened, a key is presented, and it serves to show how close the living artist was to the inhabitants that he is allowed to free these drawers and makes images of them all under the watchful eye of religious iconography, an element that we do not generally associate to the contemporary Art World, unless in hustled in the act of defiance. More newspapers align, and Berges makes his trademark images of vintage telephones and drawn curtains, the light bleeding a yellow pus color adding to the respectful delirium of such an old very German home. Despite his intentions, I never doubt my ability to read a photograph as morbid nor Berges’ ability to illicit a queasy feeling within his work.
As usual, this is another in a series of fine books by Berges. There is the added bonus of connecting his own educational lineage to the Bechers, but also that we are given more insight into the Bechers, or at least Bernd himself. The imagination to see, observe, and finally render images of German homes by Berges and the typologically oriented Bechers can be seen in a historical light here, seeing where the Bechers came from and how time and German cultural life were in the village may have informed some of their aesthetics. That Berges can combine his work with theirs also makes a beautiful posthumous collaboration, which was undoubtedly part of his intent. If you have not spent time with Berges’ work, I highly recommend you begin now and pick this fascinating book up. It is work that allows for imagination, takes some time to sit with, but ultimately rewards the viewer with a deeper conversation about time, picture-making, and our never-ending thirst for gratification, the point here being that the reward is in the delay, the echo, and the dissolve.
Of note, this book is published in association with an exhibition curated by Thomas Thiel and Assistant Curator: Lea März at MGKSiegen, Funded by Kunststiftung NRW (Arts Foundation North Rhine Westfalia) and will be available to visit until August 6th, 2023.
Das Becherhaus in Mudersbach
Schirmer & Mosel