© Günther Förg


IG Farben Haus VII


242 × 162 cm

zur  Biographie

In his exploration of space Günther Förg adopts unusual methods. Already in his first exhibitions his images (in part photographic works) including wall size paintings, interacted with their museum settings; indeed, his artistic approach can be seen as exemplary of a trend in contemporary art that moved away from the individual picture and towards space per se. By way of example, in 1991 for the opening of Frankfurt’s Museum of Modern Art he produced a colorful wall piece for the central stairway, which together with a bronze relief formed a contrast to the architectural structure of the post-modern museum architecture. As such it is hardly surprising that within other work groups Günther Förg employs photography to explore modernist architecture in the first half of the 20th century. For instance, in 1995 he produced the black-and-white shots of the series Architecture Moscow 1923–1941. In it Förg depicts buildings by Melnikov, Ginzburg and Vesnin in detail but also in realistic and subjective perspectives, ich reveal the failure of the (Communist) utopia and the pitiful state of many of the buildings.

"Everything stretches out towards the sun,” Hans Poelzig had said about his prestigious building for IG-Farben located on the outskirts of Frankfurt’s city area, which the new global corporation and Germany’s first "industrial trust” moved into in October 1930. (Primo Levi called the IG factory in Auschwitz-Monowitz the "Realm of the Dead”.) Förg presents this architectural manifestation of economic power with an interior view of the stairwell. Already in Baroque architecture the stairwell was fundamental to the hermeneutics of power. Förg’s view succeeds in capturing the sublime quality of space and light – the emptiness of space – in interaction with the elegant forms and precious materials such as the silver leaf on the ceiling. The color photograph stems from the time after the building’s middle period of use, when the Americans under General Eisenhauer used to deploy it as their headquarters. Today, it is po lated by students of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, who are occasionally heard to comment how strange it feels to study in a cultural monument.
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