Bernd and Hilla Becher: Basic Forms (May 6 to September 14, 2008)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 6 to September 14, 2008, (Cat.)
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Framework House, Slated Street Side, Hauptstrasse 3, Birken, Germany
Bernd and Hilla Becher (German, partnership 1959 - 2007)
Gelatin silver print
23.7 x 17.9 cm (9 5/16 x 7 1/16 in.)
© Bernd and Hilla Becher
A cubic thing, like a house, you can photograph from eight different angles and they all make sense. It's logical. And if you put this together, it's like walking around a house.
The systematic nature of Bernd and Hilla Becher's photographic approach permeates every aspect of their work. This arrangement of photographs describes one house in eight views, a process that Hilla Becher has described in methodical terms: "You take the street side, the backside, and two side views; and then you take them from all four corners."
Published in 1977, Framework Houses of the Siegen Industrial Region is the first of many books of the Becher's work. The half-timbered construction of these simple houses, some of which are adorned with slate shingles to protect against moisture, is characteristic of the Siegerland, a farming and mining region surrounding the town of Siegen, east of Düsseldorf. The Bechers classified their pictures into categories of gable sides, slated gable sides, street and rear views, slated street and rear views, corner views, and groups of houses. They also included Abwicklungen (the unfolding) of individual houses, eight views that document each house in its entirety–of which this grid is an example.
Bernd and Hilla Becher, Framework Houses of the Siegen Industrial Region (Munich: Schirmer/Mosel, 1977) Hauptstraße 3, Birken, 1971.