The pictorial perception of our cities is predominantly based on urban focal points, like historically significant architectural monuments, public squares, and streets, even topographical features. However, a single, nondescript apartment building, an interior courtyard, or a heterogeneous ensemble of architectural elements all initially resist a direct aesthetic contemplation. It is exactly these “unremarkable locations”- the title of the works in his portfolio — that validate the interests of photographer and designer Stefan Schumacher (born 1960). Based on the Becher-influenced Düsseldorf School of Photography, Schumacher initially approaches the subjects of his interest in a descriptive manner. An influence of the “purified” motif is evident by the lack of people, vehicles, or signs. In addition, the light is always dim and without any shadows. In this way, a window into reality is transferred into a sterile artificiality that clearly stresses its structural relationships and then enables the actual constitution of the subject in the first place: surfaces, stereometric forms, and particular structures join together into the abstractness of the overall composition. There is alternation between airy spaces, stacked, staccato-like towering pediments, or ornately-crossed cuboids.
Only after this “second look” does a changed perception of the architecture itself follow. It achieves an iconic allegory and artistic autonomy, as evoked by the photograph. Schumacher’s work therefore proves itself to be dialectical, conceptual art that has developed an independent visual aesthetic.
|1960||born in Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany|
|1984–1990||studies of communication design, University of Essen; diploma|
|1990–||freelance photographer and designer|
|Stefan Schumacher lives and works in Munich|
Exhibitions (G = Group exhibitions)
|2017||“Ins Bild setzen” (G), architectural photography from Bavaria, Bavarian Chamber of Architects, Munich
|2016||“Gemstones” (G), Ingo Seufert — Gallery for Contemporary Photography, Munich|
|2015||“Ins Bild setzen” (G), architectural photography from Bavaria, Bavarian Chamber of Architects, Munich|
|“Wahrnehmungen” (G, together with Diemut von Funk), Ingo Seufert — Gallery for Contemporary Photography, Munich|
|“unauffällige Schauplätze” (G, together with Bernhard Müller) for the opening of the factory photo gallery “sono”, Salzburg|
|2013||“Spuren” (G), Soziale Skulptur München e.V., Munich|
|2009||“Ende ist Anfang” (G), Soziale Skulptur München e.V., Munich|
|Exhibition at the Supreme Building Authority, Munich|
|guest artist at the summer exhibition in the Wiede factory, Munich|
|2008||G as part of the European Architectural Photography Prize at KAZimKUBA Kassel, Goethe Institute Singapure and vhs-photogalerie Stuttgart|
|2007||Exhibition with lithographies by Joseph Beuys, Soziale Skulptur München e.V., Munich|
|G, Bundeskunsthalle Bonn|
|“Gebaute Umwelt — urbane Orte” (G) for the OpenArt, Galerie Jordanow, Munich|
|2006||G, Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Tokyo, Japan|
Scholarships and prizes — Selection
|2011||Support by the cultural section of the VG Bild-Kunst GmbH|
|2007||Appreciation by the European Architectural Photography Prize: My Favourite Places, publication in the catalog|
|2003||Appreciation by the European Architectural Photography Prize: Urban Spaces, publication in the catalog|
|Support by the cultural section of the VG Bild-Kunst GmbH|
|2016–||Teaching assignment at the University of Applied Sciences Augsburg|
References — Selection
|AIT, American Express, Bauwerk Parkett, BMW, Demos, DETAIL, GKT, Hochtief, Hörmann, RWE, ROMA, TRILUX, Staatliches Bauamt München 1, Sto SE & Co., VDI, VDE, Velux, VIESSMANN|
Photo: Bernhard Müller
„My interest lies in the inconspicuous locations of our cities that surround and accompany me on a daily basis. City squares, courtyards, and streets show both the individuality and arbitrariness of urban development: the interleaving and conglomeration of buildings, the clash of banal contemporary architecture with historic buildings that have grown into existence over time, and the sometime stage-like artificiality combined with curiousness.
I discover my motifs in a very direct and intuitive manner; this follows a period of reflection and concentrated review, yielding an immediate image or the dismissal of the encountered situation. Ideally, works arise that are notmerely illustrations that discuss a location, but rather the elements of these places transmitting aesthetic character that is detached from time and space.
I use an analog 4 x 5 inch field camera that provides me with a desired richness of detail, while allowing for speedy and inconspicuous work. With digitization, the possibility to output Lambda or IRIS prints arises.“ (Stefan Schumacher)