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Retrospective exhibition of works by Lewis Baltz opens at Hanover's kestnergesellschaft
Lewis Baltz, Unoccupied office, Mitsubishi, Vitre (FR), 1989-91. From the series Sites of Technology. C-Print, Diasec© Lewis Baltz. Courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Köln.

HANOVER.- The kestnergesellschaft presents works by the legendary American photographer Lewis Baltz. This retrospective exhibition investigates the varied oeuvre of one of the central representatives of conceptual photography and is a cooperation with the Kunstmuseum Bonn.

The exhibition highlights the well-known series The Prototype Works (1967–76), The New Industrial Parks near Irvine, California (1974) and Candlestick Point (1987–89), which examine the spoiled landscape and neglected suburbs of California’s postwar boom. In these works Baltz aims his camera with a soberly objective eye at newly built industrial facilities, straggling suburbs, building facades, shop windows and billboards. The almost abstract photographs, reduced to a very few architectural details, became classics of conceptual photography. The kestnergesellschaft is also exhibiting the series Near Reno (1986–87) and Continuous Fire Polar Circle (1986), which document the ecological and social effects of a real-estate boom on the fringes of middle-class America.

In addition the exhibition shows the change in Lewis Baltz’s work since he emigrated to Europe in 1986. In the series Sites of Technology (1989–90) and the frieze Ronde de Nuit (1992/95) it can be seen how Baltz altered his style and in place of small-format minimalist black-and-white series began to produce large-scale works in color. Interiors of modern research facilities, company headquarters and power stations are witness to the bleakness of modern industrial concerns and Baltz’s skepticism about the apparent progress brought about by economic growth.

Lewis Baltz (*1945 in Newport Beach, lives in Paris and Venice) worked on the American West Coast during the 1970s and was the first artist working in photography to be taken up by the renowned Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. Until 2003 he taught at various American and European colleges. He has been a professor at the Instituto Universatario di Architecture de Venezia since 2004. He has also worked since 2002 as professor for conceptual photography at the European Graduate School in SaasFee, Switzerland.

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