Joachim Brohms new solo exhibition at Grimaldi Gavin
develops his ongoing concern with architectural structures and in particular with the relationship between architecture as an environment for recreation. This exhibition brings together and counterpoints a brand new body of work that explores the modernism of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe with Brohms series Typology, a study of vernacular German allotment buildings of the late 1970s.
More than 80 years ago, Mies van der Rohe took part in a competition to design a club house for the newly founded Krefeld Golf Club. Due to the Great Depression however, the house was never built. In 2013, Mies design was finally put into practice under the artistic directorship of Belgian architect Paul Robbrecht at the planned site on the outskirts of Krefeld. The model was built according to the original plans as a walkable architecture model at a scale of 1:1, thus creating a highly exceptional architectural exhibition.
Joachim Brohm spent time photographing the temporary model during 2013, creating a body of work entitled Mies Model Study consisting of both colour and black and white images. Fascinated with the rough nature of some parts of the structure as a contemporary interpretation of the incomplete Mies sketches, Brohms images gracefully reference the aesthetic language of modernist architectural photography of the 20th century.
Typology 1979 is the retrospective title Brohm gave to a series of photographs he took in 1979 while studying at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen and to a later monograph he published on the work. At the time when black and white photography was commonly accepted as the standard amongst European artists, the first articles about documentary colour photography in the US were beginning to be published. Inspired by the truthful representations of ordinary subject matter, Brohm began documenting the vernacular German allotment huts in muted tones and colours. Typology 1979 is his earliest group of such works.
The series is devoted to recreational places and the activities of people living in the artists immediate area around the industrial Ruhr. However human presence is slight, even ethereal, as hardly any people can be spotted in these photographs of allotment gardens in late autumn. Their presence is only evoked in the structures they built or the gardens they designed. The series is accompanied by a monograph publication, Joachim Brohm Typology 1979 published by MACK, London.
Whilst some existing vintage prints of allotments were shown in Brohms exhibition Color at the Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur in Cologne in 2010, Brohms fully re-edited series Typology 1979 will now be shown in London for the first time together with the new series Mies Model Study.
Joachim Brohm rose to prominence in the early 1980s as one of the first photographers in Europe to shoot exclusively in colour. From the late 1970s Brohm connected the visual possibilities of colour photography with a newly defined "everyday cultural landscape." Major recent shows include Intractable and Untamed: Documentary Photography around 1979, Museum Ludwig, Cologne in 2014 and Re- Seeing the Permanent Collection: The Viewers Choice. Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WI, USA.; Industrial Worlds. MAST Collection, Bologna, Italy; This Infinite World, curated by Paul Graham. Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Concrete Photography and Architecture in 2013.