Tracing Transformations – Photographic Impressions between Landscape and Living Environment by Laurenz Berges, Michael Collins, and Paola De Pietri

The current exhibitions of the Photographischen Sammlung | until July, 8, 2018

Paola De Pietri: No title, from de series „Questa Pianura“, 2014 © Paola De Pietri

The “Tracing Transformations” project presents three positions from three different countries: Laurenz Berges (*1966) from Düsseldorf, Michael Collins (*1961) from London, and Paola De Pietri (*1960) from Reggio Emilia, Italy. Their photographs focus on landscape-related and structural phenomena that they primarily discovered in the vicinity of their studios or their homes and in this respect can be studied over the long term. All three of them attentively observe the meticulous transformation of their environment and use their large-format cameras and therefore the high image quality they achieve to document factual and atmospheric conditions.

The concept of “Tracing Transformations” finds multilayered analogies in the photographs by the three artists. It can refer to weathering, but it can also illustrate a form of intuition and decomposition, dissolution and change. On display are documentary but above all contemplative photographs that deny any premature answers, take the métier to its limits, and challenge our visual curiosity.

Laurenz Berges: Schulstraße, 2013 © Laurenz Berges, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2017

These works by Laurenz Berges, Michael Collins and Paola De Pietri encounter one another for the first time in this exhibition. It unites their intuition and their sharp eye for temporary as well as timeless realities, for facts and gradual transformations, as well as their sensitivity for the specifically fine aesthetic that arises from it. A leporello (German/English) will be published to accompany each of the artistic positions. Assembled in a slipcase, as artistic publications the leporellos have been designed to acquire collector’s value. (Snoeck Verlag, Cologne; graphic design: Claudia Ott, Düsseldorf)

Michael Collins: Hoo Flats diptych, 2016 (right), © Michael Collins

Concurrently in Room 2:

A Look at the Collection: Landscape – Transformation – Space

With this presentation accompanying the main exhibition, Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur presents historical and contemporary works that once more intensify the artistic examination of the subject matter. Focus is placed on three selected works that were transferred from the holdings of the Stiftung Kunst im Landesbesitz, North Rhine-Westphalia, represented by the Kunstsammlung NRW, to Die Photographische Sammlung as permanent loans in 2017. These works by Boris Becker, Elger Esser, und Candida Höfer are now being thematically and formally related with positions from our own collection by Lawrence Beck, Lee Friedlander and Pierre Bonnard, and Albert Renger-Patzsch in a group exhibition.

These will be joined by conceptually related works by Albert Renger-Patzsch, Burkhard Jüttner, and Klaus Rinke from the LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn. The presentation also explores the alternative ways of depicting the landscape that exemplify humankind’s access to nature as well as the relationship between subject and conceptual realization.

Albert Renger-Patzsch: In the nature reserve of Heve, before 1958. Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Köln © Albert Renger-Patzsch-Archiv/Ann und Jürgen Wilde; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2018

Room 3:

A Look at the Collection: Paul Dobe: Photographic Studies of Nature and the Finding of Forms

Paul Dobe: Common Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, Seed head, half blown away, 9.5.1914 © Estate Paul Dobe - Courtesy Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur Köln/Permanent loan Private collection

Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur contains a comprehensive collection of prints, negatives, slides, graphic motifs, and further documents by Paul Dobe (1880–1965). A trained draftsman, in his oeuvre he concentrated on studying nature, turning his attention toward flowers and plant structures. He may have possibly met Karl Blossfeldt in 1905 during his studies at the teaching institute of the Museum of Applied Arts in Berlin, where Blossfeldt taught “plant modeling”.

The black-and-white photographs by Paul Dobe feature flowers and trees as well as photographic reproductions of his drawings. Taken with great precision, the images have been carefully mounted and labeled: with quasi-scientific aspiration and against a botanical background, Dobe sought principles of construction, a law of form based in nature. Dobe devoted himself to the photographic portrayal of different cloud formations with similar impetus. These images are also included in the exhibition. In addition, the photographic sheets that pursue the idea of the principles of order taken from nature in an abstract way and ultimately condense into the new creation of pure forms have a surprising impact.

Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Im Mediapark 7, 50670 Cologne, Germany, Tel.: +49 (0)221 888 95 300, E-mail: photographie( at ),, exhibitions open daily except Wednesday 2:00–7:00 p.m.

Admission: €5.50 (reduced €3.00), free admission the first Monday of every month! Regular guided tour: every Sunday at 3:00 p.m., price: regular admission + €2.00 fee for the tour