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Joachim Brohm creates image archives dedicated to the structural transformation of our civilisation's peripheries over time. His pictures seem objective, distanced, almost casual. But his unembellished depictions of everyday life are idiosyncratic in their restrained palette and compositional precision. A profound interest in what is photographed and knowledge of the character of photography are integral parts of his creative process.Read More
Joachim Brohm is one of the pioneers of documentary colour photography in the European context. Inspired by the latest developments in American photography, which he knew from specialist publications, he began to photograph in colour in 1978, while many artists in Germany still sought their expression in black-and-white photography.
While still studying at the Folkwangschule in Essen, Brohm began working on Ruhr–a kind of inventory of his immediate surroundings, the Ruhr area, with a special focus on sites of leisure. With a scholarship from the Fulbright Commission, Brohm arrived at Ohio State University in Columbus in 1983/1984 and studied with Alan Sekula. The camera was his a constant companion on his daily wanderings through the city. The results was Ohio.
Several photographic series would follow. In Areal, Brohm documented the use and development of an industrial area on the outskirts of Munich for eleven years starting in 1992. Culatra bears the name of a Portuguese island which he regularly visited for the work from 2008 to 2010. Interesting in this context is a development towards the motif, which also proves itself as a single picture beyond the series. Around the same time, Brohm used a photography project curated by Thomas Weski, Ruhrblicke 2010, as an opportunity to resume his project Alma, He had already made the racetrack on the now defunct site of Alma colliery in Gelsenkirchen the subject of a photo series in 1987. In Culatra and Alma 2009, the artist's approach is increasingly oriented towards conceptual relationships.
From 2012 on, he started creating individual photographic images, among other things, that were no longer attributable to a serial context or specific location. A predilection for constructions sites, often precarious and bizarre, as well as for modern architecture, which was already evident in his early works, now served as a connecting element within various projects. The Bauhaus and Mies van der Rohe's architecture are recurring subjects that Brohm deliberately uses the aesthetic means of modernist photographers, including the occasional black and white, to depict.
Brohm sees the work on his own archive as part of his artistic work, including the digitization of his early works. In 2014, 35 photographs of allotment gardens in the Rhineland taken as early as 1979 were summarised as Typology 1979 and presented to the public.
Since 1984, Brohms' work has been regularly shown in renowned museums and exhibitions in Germany and abroad. Numerous monographs are dedicated to him.
Text courtesy Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art.
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