Stonework and Lime KilnsPhotographs by Bernd and Hilla Becher
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This volume is an essential addition to the Bechers’ body of work , devoted to their images of rock-processing plants and lime kilns taken in Germany, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, and Great Britain throughout the 1980s and ’90s. Each structure is unique, its details dependent upon the region and the date of its construction, and the book features buildings whose essential function is ancient but remain important today. Although a small number of these images have been included in previous monographs, this is the first publication to showcase a comprehensive collection of the Bechers’ study of stonework and lime kilns. Whether presenting single shots or their signature typological grids, the Bechers created a photographic testament to the industrial revolution that so emphatically shaped the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. At the same time, however, they also captured a much-older manufacturing tradition: the quarrying and processing of stones.
Bernd Becher (1931–2007, born in Siegen, Germany) and Hilla Becher (1934, born in Potsdam, Germany) met at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and first collaborated in 1959. Starting in the late ’60s, their work gained worldwide visibility via prominent exhibitions such as Documenta, Kassel, Germany; Bienal de São Paulo; and Venice Biennale. The Bechers’ work is represented in major collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Tate Gallery, London, and they have received numerous awards, among them the Erasmus Prize and the Hasselblad Award. The Bechers were influential professors at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, training a generation of photographers now known collectively as the Düsseldorf School. Over a dozen monographs of their work have been published.