Boris Becker: Bunker 1984–89

Cat. Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne; Saarlandmuseum – Moderne Galerie, Stiftung Saarländischer Kulturbesitz, Saarbrücken

Texts (German/English/French) by Roland Augustin, Marcel Beyer, Gabriele Conrath-Scholl
352 p with 850 plates in Duotone and 45 coloured illustrations
275 x 225 mm, hardcover

ISBN 978-3-86442-289-8

148,00 €

700 Bunkers in more than 40 West German Cities

As both an artist’s book and an archive book, this publication also introduces an important and poignant theme of German history. On show are the most diverse types of bunkers, built in particular during World War II between 1940 and 1944, ­looked at in the period between 1984 and 1989 by artist and photographer Boris Becker. When he began his documentary project, the Cold War period was almost over, and the concrete buildings were no longer needed for civil defense purposes. Even more so than in the past, they appeared like outlandish and seemingly uncanny monsters within the cityscapes. Their function seemed out of date, and no rational-minded person wanted anything to do with the murderous ideology that had brought these buildings to light. »Nie wieder Krieg!« (no more war!), those are the words of a graffiti on one of the bunkers taken by Boris Becker. When ­looking at his factually registering photographic ­documents, we not only encounter unusually ­monstrous concrete buildings, but this specific topic also informs us about the extent of these ­construction activities during World War II. Boris Becker has photographed around 700 ­bunkers in more than 40 West German cities. Boris ­Becker based the series of works of the ­overground bunkers, so-called Hochbunker, on a ­method similar to the conceptual approach by artist couple Bernd and Hilla Becher. The comparability of the images is just as intentional as a neutral perspective and a detailed and authentic-adequate ­representation of the building. The volume at hand allows an ­exemplary look at a theme that was worked out in the circle of the so-called Becher School and for Boris Becker represented a significant starting point for his further work with the medium of photog­raphy. He has since focused on architecture, landscape, objects and still lifes as subjects of his attention, as well as the complex question of the reality beyond what is visually ­perceptible.

Die Photographische Sammlung/ SK Stiftung Kultur, Köln, and Saarlandmuseum – Moderne Galerie, Saarbrücken, 6/9/2019 – 9/2/2020