From the moment you lay your eyes on the piece ‘On Fire’ by Joachim Brohm, you will forever be in its spell, that incessantly reaches to the deviant within us all. The Brancolini Grimialdi was again the source of my evenings entertainment as they launched the first ever solo exhibition in the UK of Joachim Brohms work.
The German has work spanning across his 30 year career showcased here, including pieces from Ruhr (1980-1983), Ohio (1983-1984) and more recently Culatra (2008-2010) series. The photos demonstrate his competence to replicate the pioneering approach of American photography greats like William Eggleston, Stephen Shore and Robert Adams. This influence and comparison is arguably due to him to becoming one of the first European photographers to capture what is known as the “everyday cultural landscape”
He began using extensively colour from the 1970s so all of the pieces here are in colour, but against the bright white walls of the Grimaldini it is a good thing. It is when you see the photographs from the Culatra series that focus on the Portugese island do you realise this. The colourful series focus on boats, tractors, shacks, backyards, facades and more, lying on perfect white sand. Nevertheless, in spite of the alluring white sand and blue skies, the island looks without doubt to be deserted, which portrays a completely different message. This gives these photos a chilling edge, as a feeling of abandonment and desolation of a once thriving community lies directly in front of your eyes.
The photographs of the Ruhr region in Germany are quite interesting as Brohm is able to portray the changing landscape of this region quite well, as he captures the edge of urban life. It captures the rural feel of the Gelesenkirchen and Essen regions and in doing so for me highlight the philosophy of documenting the ‘everyday cultural landscape’.
Though unsurprisingly his year long stay in Ohio, appeals to me most as his photographs clearly depict the bleakness of the Great Lakes States. The iconography of 80s America shines out from the amazing mise-en-scène as a different but gruesomely similar story. The tale is no where near the transience American Dream President Reagan’s would of had you believe.
This show runs till the 11th May.