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Object photography, Riemenscheiben, ca. 1928
Albert Renger-Patzsch
Object photography, Riemenscheiben,
Albert Renger-Patzsch,

Object photography, Riemenscheiben,
ca. 1928

Albert Renger-Patzsch
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Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Ausstellungsstrasse 60
8031 Zurich
Museum map
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Toni-Areal, Pfingstweidstrasse 94
8031 Zurich
  • Riemenscheiben Albert Renger-Patzsch
  • Riemenscheiben Albert Renger-Patzsch
  • Riemenscheiben Albert Renger-Patzsch
  • Riemenscheiben Albert Renger-Patzsch
  • Riemenscheiben Albert Renger-Patzsch
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Listen to the text
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With his photo book Die Welt ist schön (The World Is Beautiful), which he originally wanted to call Die Dinge (Things), Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897–1966) achieved international recognition. The cofounder of the New Photography movement aimed for nothing less than to capture the essence of objects—whether they originated in nature or were products of technology.

From the beginning of his career, the professional photographer Albert Renger-Patzsch focused his attention on the form and structure of machines, the tantalizing surface of a snake’s skin, or the sensitivity of a potter’s hands. With his life’s work, he encouraged viewers to see everyday objects in a new light—or to take notice of them in the first place. In this regard, he saw himself as a craftsman and technician rather than an artist. He was convinced that it was both necessary and possible to appreciate any object in an objective manner, inspired by the essence of the object itself. In what sounded like circular reasoning, he believed that an image is beautiful because the object it depicts is beautiful. With this realistic approach, he also meant that we should see the thing itself and not the picture of the thing. Ideally, therefore, the photographic image itself should be “invisible”—meaning that its creator would also be invisible. Meanwhile, this way of working, without a conscious personal style, quickly became a style in itself that others could seize upon. In his early years, Renger-Patzsch worked primarily under contract. The photograph Riemenscheiben (Belt Pulleys) was taken in a factory owned by Siemens Elektrowärme GmbH, which produced clothes irons and other electrically heated appliances. No other images are known to have been taken at this location. Die Welt ist schön displayed one hundred photographs selected on their own merits, independently of the context of the original commissions. In the same way, Renger-Patzsch preferred to present the individual objects in close-up, free of any spatial, social, or even historical context. (Andres Janser)

Sachfotografie, Riemenscheiben, um 1928
Fotografie: Albert Renger-Patzsch
Auftrag: Siemens Elektrowärme GmbH, Neu-Sörnewitz, DE
Material/Technik: Barytpapier, s/w-Fotografie
17.2 × 23 cm
Eigentum: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK
Literatureo

Albert Renger-Patzsch, Die Welt ist schön, München 1928.

Kunstgewerbemuseum Zürich, Photographien Albert Renger-Patzsch. Aufnahmen aus Natur und Technik, 1928.

Ann und Jürgen Wilde/Thomas Weski (Hg.), Albert Renger-Patzsch. Meisterwerke, München 1997.

SK Stiftung Kultur (Hg.), August Sander, Karl Blossfeldt, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Bernd und Hilla Becher. Vergleichende Konzeptionen, München 1997.

Image creditso

Sachfotografie, Riemenscheiben, um 1928, Fotografie: Albert Renger-Patzsch
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Sachfotografie, Laufschiene einer Seilbahn, um 1928, Fotografie: Albert Renger-Patzsch
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Naturfotografie, Natterkopf, 1925–28, Fotografie: Albert Renger-Patzsch
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Sachfotografie, Töpferhände, um 1928, Fotografie: Albert Renger-Patzsch
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Naturfotografie, Sempervivum percarneum, um 1928, Fotografie: Albert Renger-Patzsch
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Fotobuch, Umschlag, Die Welt ist schön – Einhundert photographische Aufnahmen von Albert Renger-Patzsch, 1928, Herausgabe: Einhorn-Verlag, München, DE
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Exhibition texto
Albert Renger-Patzsch - New Photography

Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897–1966) sought to capture nothing less than the very essence of things, whether they came from nature or were the products of technology. His book Die Welt ist Schön (The World Is Beautiful; 1928), which was initially to be called Die Dinge (The Things), shows objects in most cases in close-up, and thus divorced from their context. Renger-Patzsch photographed things objectively in a manner he viewed as being stimulated by the nature of the respective object itself. This working method without a signature style soon evolved into a style in its own right and was given the name New Photography.