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GOSBERT ADLER - Streets, cars and drivers

Gosbert Adler was born in Essen in 1952. Today he lives and works in Berlin. His photographic study for Storie urbane (Urban stories), in the town of Reggio Emilia, focused on the landscape and the environment. He took photographs in the suburbs of Reggio Emilia, in particular in the vicinity of the river Crostolo, taking a specific interest in people inside cars, and what people leave inside cars.

The author looks for the limiting threshold between private and public life and sees motorcars as semi-mobile homes which travel through the urban landscape.

His work for Reggio Emilia, entitled Streets, cars and drivers, is divided into four parts: the streets, the cars, the drivers and the river.

These concepts form part of a project that the author started about two years ago, related to cars and to "living with cars".

Gosbert Adler has this to say about this project:

"I came to Reggio Emilia with one idea; I was interested in cars, and I wanted to continue working on cars, as I also dealt with this theme last year. I was interested in the idea of working in a country that I was familiar with for completely different reasons, for example, somewhere to take a holiday; I think it is interesting to see a place with different eyes. I visited places like the town's suburbs and the province's boundaries for the European Photography Week, for example, like the route between the towns of Reggio Emilia and Parma or between Reggio Emilia and Modena. I generally take photographs of places where there are no people, and then I create another ad hoc stage for them, for example, in cars. The street is the boundary between private life and public life, the limiting line, if you like. For me, the question of the theme, in this case, the Limit and the Boundary, is defined in the following way: can it be useful for me as a starting point? is it important for me? And then I start work, without thinking about the theme any longer. Everything must take shape independently. I dealt with the private life of persons in my previous work based on the objects they preserve or the objects that surround them; you could say that my work has always something to do with boundaries and with limits. I find the situation where the car is stationary at a red light interesting; this is a time when the persons are present for themselves, therefore they are concentrated. Sometimes they let their glance astray, but it is as if they were, to use a German expression, "in a shop window", but fundamentally they feel present for themselves. We are all familiar with the situation where we are stopped at traffic lights and we have the feeling of sitting at home, and this is the situation that I am interested in taking photographs of. These are not real portraits because sometimes the photograph is taken of people from the rear or from the side. Therefore, I am interested in the correlation between the private and the public sphere; to be in the car can be an important moment for my project".

Solo exhibitions

  • 1983 - Werkstatt für Fotografie, Berlin
  • 1986 - Forum Stadtpark, Graz
  • 1990 - Museum Folkwang, Essen
  • 1991 - Forum Stadtpark, Graz
  • 1991 - Galerie Bouqueret et Lebon, Paris
  • 1993 - Arbeit in situ, Berlin
  • 1994 - Sprengel Museum, Hannover
  • 1997 - Galerie Bouqueret et Lebon, Paris
  • 2000 - Goetheinstitut, Toronto
  • 2002 - Goetheinstitut, Toronto (con Robin Collyer)
  • 2004 - Galerie Obrist, Essen