Bernd and Hilla Becher – Grain Elevators
Dimensions: 25 x 80″ group framed / 12.25 x 15.5″ ea each
Medium: gelatin silver prints, in ten parts
Within fifty years of collaboration (from 1959–2007), Bernd and Hilla Becher produced one of their most important series of conceptual photography—Grain Elevators is one of the many industrial structures such as water towers, blast furnaces, and oil tanks, they were able to document and from that, capture the American and European imagination and landscape.
The Bechers were fascinated by industrial production methods of the nineteenth century and Le Corbusier’s concept of buildings as functioning machines. They wanted to show the agricultural prosperity of a forgotten era and investigated the ways in which industry affects the economy and the environment.
The Becher’s works are now in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Tate Gallery in London. They won the prestigious Golden Lion Award at the Venice Biennale in 1990, among other top prizes in the art world. The Centre Pompidou in Paris, Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and numerous other top institutions have exhibited their works.
Traveling in a Volkswagen, the artistic duo photgraphed disappearing industrial structures, such as water towers, coal bunkers, gas tanks and factories across Europe. They also traveled to Britain and the United States.
They aimed to document these structures with objectivity, capturing every photo at a direct angle against a gray sky. This allowed them to present their works in a uniform grid, grouping several photographs of the same type of sturcture.
The Bechers are credited with the creation of the Dusseldorf School of Photography, a group of photgraphers including Andreas Gursky, Candida Hofer, Axel Hutte, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth, who studied under the Bechers.