Götz Diergarten, o.T. (Lancing), Diptychon – rechts © 2010 Götz Diergarten
Exhibition | 20.08.2010 - 30.10.2010

Götz Diergarten

Through his photographs, Götz Diergarten (*1972 in Mannheim) encourages us to look at the familiar things in our surroundings with greater sensitivity. In his typological series he investigates ordinary architecture: German fagades, Belgian beach huts, British beach buildings, and European subways. The ostensible banality of plaster and fake brick, windows, garage doors, and simple architecture is transformed into a typology of everyday culture through the photographic series. His works are characterized by the clear, documentary style of his teacher Bernd Becher. House fagades, beach huts, and subways are photographed according to strict compositional criteria—frontal view, diffuse light, and dose cropping; the only variant is the type.

What makes Diergarten's work so original is above all the conceptual link between typology and color. His natural affinity for color photography has its roots in the tradition of American photography since 1970, for example in William Eggleston or Stephen Shore's casual explorations of the everyday. When one gives Diergarten's work enough time, one no longer sees small, banal fagades or houses, but abstract compositions with delicate gradations of tone and a unique painterly quality. His photographs demand a deliberately slow process of perception from the viewer, and thus they are exactly the opposite of the brightly colored stream of images with which we are barraged at increasing speed.

In his work, Götz Diergarten carries forward this productive dialogue between the principles of painting and photography. On the one hand, his images have a stringent, documentary character. On the other, their appeal lies in their painterly quality, which is powerfully and evocatively manifested in the interaction between abstraction and color. In his early series Fassaden (1995-2001), Diergarten photographed building fagades near his home in the Pfalz region. The single-family homes built in the 1960s and 1970s served as visual templates. The three-dimensional buildings are almost always shown from the front and fill the image, so that lines and surfaces of color create an abstract configuration.

With his current series METROpolis (since 2006), Diergarten returns to his photographic origins and simultaneously explores new photographic terrain. Although he previously focused only on individual objects outdoors, he now aims his camera at spe­cific elements of interior public space—the passageways, tunnels, and platforms of the subway. His studies of the subway's guises and the corresponding myth of the modern metropolis are very comprehensive. By distilling public functional spaces down to elementary components of colored surfaces and space, Diergarten creates a realm for the contemplation of the unnoticed and the beauty of the ordinary. Working from the renewal of documentary photography introduced by their teachers Bernd and Hilla Becher, three generations of students, including Andreas Gursky and Thomas Ruff, have expanded the photographic view of the world through formal stringency and technical precision. Götz Diergarten is among them. His view of our world is as poetic as it is concrete.


Götz Diergarten

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