Bernd Rathjen: City Moments
Memories of a time when travelling was a breeze
What is city? How do we perceive urbanity? What role does architecture play in a global world? And what do its images refer to?
The exhibition brings together photographs from 21 cities on 5 continents: Berlin, Brasilia, Christchurch, Honolulu, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Monte Carlo, New York, Paris, Ramallah, San Francisco, Shanghai, Sydney, Tel Aviv and Torino. In quiet, mostly deserted black-and-white shots, striking buildings, towers and signs loom into view, extravagant interiors open up.
Rathjen’s view of the facades is neutral, it’s non-judgemental. Rather, he is a collector of these architectures. The iconic designs of modernism, the Bauhaus, but also brutalism are his inspiration. He documents art installations in public spaces, but also scaffolding in front of landmarks. His gaze falls through windows and archways. The composition of his photographs alternates between distance and proximity, between space and detail. Particular attention is paid to automobiles. There are headlights that appear to blink at us, as well as the distinctive Fiat factory sign growing into the sky.
City Moments seeks analogies and differences in the language of form. It lets supposedly similar things enter into dialogue, finds unusual alliances and presents peculiar views. New perspectives emerge in overlaps, the city views condense into a general feeling of the urban, so that their localization within actual cities is no longer apparent. The photographs of the buildings persist despite the detachment from their actual appearance. In that sense they have the ability to playfully replace the – today all the more so – “arduous” journey to them. After a time of worldwide lockdown and the impossibility of travel in general, Rathjen’s review of the world of cityscapes conveys an almost nostalgic flair. The concept of the restless traveller has given way to the thoughtful preserver, especially in the face of ongoing climate change. Being on the road today is also an opportunity for pause, a moment of reflection and weighing things. This should include carbon offset, as well as asking oneself whether a particular trip is really necessary.
In this spirit, the artist would like to give something back to the cosmos: 10% of editions print sales go as subsequent compensation to www.atmosfair.de
The exhibition will also travel. It will be shown in March 2022 at the Safra Gallery in Lisbon.
Bernd Rathjen, born in Hamburg in 1966, started taking photographs at the age of 12. He worked in the music, TV and event industry for 30 years. A few years ago he began to devote himself more and more to photography. He created a number of series about architecture, cars, art and people. In 2020 his series Tegel Moments was shown with great success at Köppe Contemporary. Bernd Rathjen lives in Berlin and La Palma.
Curator of the exhibition: Nadine Barth / barthouse
Note: The exhibition will be held in compliance with the 2G rule. Proof of vaccination or convalescence is required.