Bucket Chain Excavator, Lignite Mine, Gröbern, Germany by Claudia Fährenkemper
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Gelatin silver print
From the series "Mining Machinery"
Signed, titled, dated, and editioned, in pencil, au verso
Printed in 2019
Edition of 8 + 3 APs (#1/8)
For more than thirty years, Claudia Fährenkemper (b. Castrop-Rauxel, Germany, 1959) has used photography to explore the strange beauty of man-made or natural objects by isolating them in some way from their environment. She studied under Bernd and Hilla Becher at the prestigious Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 1989 until 1995 and has since produced series in landscape, machinery, photomicroscopy, and most recently, formal portraits of 15th to 19th Century suits of armour.
Illustrating her central thesis of using photography to transform reality and produce photographic images that visualize phenomena to enable comparative vision, Fährenkemper invites the observer to compare the information conveyed by her photographs with their own visible or remembered reality.
Fährenkemper has stated that, “In a time of fast-paced life, continuous immersion in a subject of calm, concentration, and distance is essential for me. In this way, the images are also predominantly created in a slow, analogous process. In my long-term photographic series, I question objects in terms of form, volume and dimension: from the machine giants of the open-cast lignite mines to the microcosm of filigree insects, plant seeds etc., to the centuries-old knight and samurai armour that was so elaborately crafted for historical personalities. The process of creating the picture is always marked by the ambivalence between beauty and the supernatural forms of structures. For me, photography is a medium of a deeper appropriation of the world that can raise questions about our lives and survival.”
Since 1989, Fährenkemper has exhibited extensively throughout Europe and Asia. Her work has been collected by museums of art, as well as by museums of history, including the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Portland Art Museum, Oregon; GoEun Museum of Photography, Busan, Korea; Sprengel-Museum, Hannover, Germany; and the Musée de L'Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Learn about the influential Kunstakadmie Düsseldorf
Explore available artworks by Fährenkemper's mentors, Bernd and Hilla Becher