RUDOLF SCHWARZ Three Churches 1929 – 1964

Galerie Thomas Zander is pleased to present exhibitions of works by the renowned American photographer Robert Adams (b. 1937, lives and works in Astoria, Oregon, USA), who received the Hasselblad Award in 2009, and the German architect Rudolf Schwarz (1897-1961), one of the most distinguished architects of religious buildings of the 20th century, who was active in Cologne and the Rhineland. The exhibitions offer insights into the early photographic work of Robert Adams since 1964, focusing on architecture and landscape in the American West as well as Rudolf Schwarz’s architectural oeuvre, documented by archive material, photographs, and drawings from the estate of Rudolf Schwarz.

A connection between the two manifested itself, when during his only trip to Europe in 1968, Robert Adams looked at modern architecture and specifically visited churches designed by Rudolf Schwarz. Schwarz’s catholic churches are characterized by an austere aesthetics that uses light as a structural element. This experience had a lasting impact on Adams and also became part of his motivation for becoming a professional photographer. A close affinity between the artist and the architect reveals itself in their perception of modern religious architecture. The exhibition of photographs by Robert Adams focuses on images of vernacular architecture in Colorado, made between 1964 and 1980, while the selection of works by Rudolf Schwarz mainly centers on three churches built between 1929 and 1964: the churches St. Fronleichnam (1930) in Aachen-Rothe Erde, St. Bonifatius (1959-1964) in Aachen, and St. Christophorus (1954-1959) in Cologne. On view are architectural sketches by Rudolf Schwarz as well as photographs of his buildings made by Albert Renger-Patzsch between 1928 and 1930.

Robert Adams became widely known as an artist of the New Topographics – a highly influential exhibition mounted at the George Eastman House in 1975 that explored the dialectical relationship between nature and civilization. Today, Adams is one of the most important artists in contemporary photography. Born in Orange, New Jersey in 1937, Adams earned a doctoral degree in English from the University of Southern California and subsequently took up a teaching position at Colorado College. In the mid-1960s, Adams fully devoted himself to photography. In 1979, the Museum of Modern Art, New York mounted the first major solo exhibition or Robert Adams’s work. Ever since, his work has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions and his photographs are in the collections of leading museums throughout the world.
For more than forty years, Adams has investigated the changing landscape of the American West and Northwest, an alteration caused by the increasing population and human interference with nature. In his seminal series The New West from the 1980s, Adams touches on the myth of the American West and critically reflects on the inexorable change of the landscape and its limited resources.

The exhibition of photographs by Robert Adams is curated by Joshua Chuang, Chief Curator for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. Prof. Wolfgang Pehnt, architect and architectural historian, curated the exhibition Rudolf Schwarz: Three Churches, 1929-1964. The exhibitions were prepared in collaboration with Robert Adams, the estate of Rudolf Schwarz Cologne, Maria Schwarz, the Albert Renger-Patzsch Archive / Ann and Jürgen Wilde Foundation, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

A two-volume publication, published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne, accompanies the exhibitions.

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