23.8 x 18.2cm (9 3/8 x 7 3/16in.)
24 x 18.1cm (9 7/16 x 7 1/8in.)
Frame: 27 x 53 cm (10 5/8 x 20 7/8 in.)
Gift of Pierre Apraxine, 1996
Not on view
Both as artists and teachers, Bernhard and Hilla Becher are among the most important figures in postwar German photography. For the last thirty years, the artists have examined the dilapidated industrial architecture of Europe and North America, from water towers and blast furnaces to the surrounding workers’ houses. The Bechers treat their subjects (in this instance the mineheads that deliver raw materials to the surface), as the exotic specimens of a long-dead species. Photographing against a blank sky and without any pictorial tricks or effects, they allow a perverse beauty to emerge from their subjects’ crazy plethora of forms. Like freakish second cousins to Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International, these sad industrial behemoths lampoon the Modernist fetishization of technological progress, unwittingly becoming monuments—both pathetic and noble—to an era racing towards its close.
Inscription: Signed in pencil on mount, recto BR beneath image: "Bernhard Becher", "Hilla Becher"
Pierre Apraxine; Sonnabend Gallery (1972)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photographs: A Decade of Collecting," June 5, 2001–September 4, 2001.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Modern Photographs from the Collection VI," January 14, 2003–June 13, 2003.
This object is one of twenty-one unique diptych panels exhibited and sold separately at the Bechers' first exhibition at Sonnabend Gallery, New York, in 1972.