Labour, wealth and its image
Seminar Week: March 20–24, 2023
Andreas Gursky, Der Rhein II, 1999
Rapacious coalmines, sublime factories, wasted landscapes; art academies, patrons’ homes, influential collections: the Rhein-Ruhr is a tightly woven fabric of all of these. In the urban conurbation and its industrial hinterland, the sources of 20th century wealth exist alongside environmental devastation that can no longer be ignored. The whole of this history can be read in the work of Hilla and Bernd Becher, and in the work of their students from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.
Based in Düsseldorf, we will retrace the steps of the Bechers. We will visit sites of material extraction and industrial production, as well as places where the consequences of these activities are being addressed. We will also visit places where this wealth was spent: the houses of collectors, their collections, and the museums built to accommodate them.
This central site of the Wirtschaftswunder is a powerful place to observe the mechanisms of capital, and culture’s role within capitalist society, and we will try to understand what these conditions could mean for the 21st century.
Eating well and having good conversations are an integral part of the week.
The costs are 501–750 CHF including entrances, accommodation, one dinner and reader.
Category C, 16 students
FS 2023, ETH Zürich, Studio Caruso
Emilie Appercé, Tibor Bielicky, Adam Caruso, Claudio Schneider, Barbara Thüler