14 Photographs. 1989

Photographs are often reduced to copies, that they (mostly) are. That is in many cases (say for scientific or product photography) rather fair. However, photographs are almost always also pictures, that is aesthetic compositions, that mean something. In artistic photographs, photographic art, photography as art then outweighs the picture. And the pictures are only allowed to represent themselves. Bertram Kober doesn't take it that far. His pictures point at not just themselves, but at us. Thus 14 Photographs, are taken between 1979 and 1989.

A few sentences about the pictures: Synagogue in Goerlitz - The deterioration increases the beauty and the beauty increases the disgust over the loss. FDJ-Whitsun Meeting - The attempt to politically and ideologically transform a Christian tradition, the picture of a soviet soldier from the Treptow Memorial as a secularized Madonna. Vierhusen at Greifswald - Four trees on the fence, the view goes straight through them in to the distance – a metaphor for longing. Seelingstaedt - The exhausted man wrapped up in a blanket, his mug on the table. There it is again, the military withdrawal of life, concentrated. Southern Graveyard, Leipzig - A figure of an angel on a pedestal in front of a firmly jointed wall made of ashlar: quietened movement, no way out. Meeting of Cultural Historians in the House of the Ministries - Skepticism and boredom, remind us of Rilke's verse "Who speaks of conquest, survival is everything." Rietschen Upper Lusatia - a bare tree, a wire frame, a woman shaking out a cloth[1], stiffness and momentary floating – how does it end? Markranstädt (burning armchair) - My favorite picture from the series, promising, full of relish, blazing like Alexander Herbrich's poem "The bonfire, a funny bush." Bernhard Heisig - Seen as a firmly sitting thinker and painter. Footpath, Leipzig - The traces of gunfire, scars in the granite of the sidewalk slabs, pieces of history you can walk on, they have certainly been replaced by perfectly smoothed paths. On the Edge of the May Demonstration - unrelated passers-by standing, waiting until it's over. All of these pictures, seemingly simple, little, and unspectacular make up in their selection, order and retrospection set-pieces in social criticism through observation.

T.O. Immisch
Excerpt from the speech at the opening of the exhibition „Bertram Kober“ in the Fotomuseum Leipzig on 19 March 2004


[1]    Looks like a woman throwing out the contents of a bucket to me.

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