MULLHEIM.- Deimel + Wittmar have examined architectural works of the 1920s, and they have turned gazes into photographs: photographs that spring freely from one's own desire to create correspondences, images that respond to a spiritual impulse rather than a functional one. What they offer with their photographs, by contrast, is a kind of fresh reading of these structures, like a book that is taken off the shelf after many years, reread, and, in the process, for the first time actually written. And this is precisely what photography is able to do - with every step it brings phenomena to light that have hitherto gone unrecognized and unseen. It does not document things or events, but places them in the time of other gazes. The distance that Deimel + Wittmar create between us and architecture with their photographs is a double one. By avoiding any historicizing gesture, they do justice to the medium of photography, and by means of deliberate fragmentation, they prevent the viewer from forming the impression of a historical continuum. With each of their images they cause architecture to survive in a different way, with each one they reveal the unseen. As photographers, they have set about the work of translation in the sense that Walter Benjamin gave to the term, undertaking expeditions through the arcades of architecture in order to spread before us an invitation to participate.
Deimel + Wittmar do not choose to document architecture - a task that would in any event be beyond the capabilities of photography - and create the kind of document that might satisfy the task as defined by a customer. Instead they cite details, just as others once reused plundered architectural booty. Deimel + Wittmar conceive of views as pauses. Photography suspends. It separates architecture from its manifestation; it dedicates each step to the imaginary opening up of an interior space and posits the moment as a response to the photographed structure. The photographers do not at any time depict architecture. Rather, with each of their photographs, they insert architecture into the expectation of that which is coming, an advent that stands much closer to Kafka's doorkeeper than to any expectation of architectural space being photographically revealed. That is the moratorium of photography. Where space becomes plane, we stand before the undecidedness of space and thus on the threshold between outside and interior.
Abridged text from Ulrich Deimel/Petra Wittmar. Those Twenties. Ostfildern: Verlag Hatje Cantz 2003.