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simone nieweg’s garden

May 8, 2010

Simone Nieweg (born in 1962 in Bielefeld) focused from the very beginning on photography and started her studies with Bernd Becher in 1 984, immediately after the “orientation year” [the first year at the university, when students are supposed to familiarize themselves with the system and to make decisions about their final goals]. She dates her first independent work from 1986, when she switched to colour photography. Her first series centred around the anonymous architecture of gardens: the self-made toolsheds, garden cottages, or pigeon houses. She then created photos of department stores and black-and-white city-scapes as well, but most impressive are the colour photographs of garden areas, „where people use the land that is at their disposal, free of the city planners’ ideas about order, how to grow vegetables or to raise rabbits or doves. I find my motifs in those large, haphazard gardens and with those small farmers who are not into intensive cultivation methods.” This body of subjects describes more an ending culture in the borderland between the well-groomed gardens of the residential buildings and the wide fields of the farmers. She is fascinated by the working methods of the planters, which could be called primitive, by the piece of land that lacks the well-groomed appearance of the house gardens or the monumentality of mechanized agriculture. She deals, like all the Becher students, with unpretentious topics. Examples for her work are again Renger-Patzsch, Sander, but she mentionedr also Eugene Atget, Stephen Shore, and Michael Schmidt from Berlin (“Berlin-Wedding”) who created with his dark black-and-white photographs an oppressive kind of a landscape photography of destroyed objects. The strictly composed lines of the patches make a clear composition possible that seems to be veiled by the color. “It fascinates me at times to make pictures that look as if they could have been created a hundred years ago,” and she prefers to use color here as well because it does not create the kind of abstraction that is possible with black-and-white photography.

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