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Heidersberger

Heinrich Heidersberger

The Avantgardist

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Editorial

Festival

7. Regional Music Festival

15 June 2024
Wolfsburg

Conference & Exhibition

Generative Art Summit

Akademie der Künste, Berlin

3 - 6 July 2024

 

Institut Heidersberger, Wolfsburg

5 July, 2024

Stories

Jahrhunderthalle

Frankfurt 1963

icon

Kraftwerk

Wolfsburg 1971

The Avantgardist

Heinrich Heidersberger

In the words of art historian Barbara Steiner, photographer Heinrich Heidersberger is a “‘modernist’ par excellence” because “like the artistic avant-garde” he sought “to reconcile economy and culture, industry and humanistic ideals, technology and democracy with the help of new technical and economic achievements.” This wonderfully sums up what makes his photographic oeuvre unique and special at the same time: the coexistence of applied and fine art photography.

Heidersberger—who was born on June 10, 1906 in Ingolstadt and found his way to Wolfsburg after periods in Linz, Graz, Paris, The Hague, Copenhagen, Berlin, and Braunschweig—knew how to give free rein to his creativity in commissioned photography as well. With his flair for presenting architecture, creating arresting sightlines, and precise compositions, he quickly made a name for himself among architects of the Braunschweig School, but he also excelled at winning over a wide variety of advertising-photography clients.

The contacts he made with the French Surrealists during his art studies in Paris, as well as his technical interests and know-how, also influenced his fine-art work. Among the best-known of these are his Rhythmograms, Lissajous figures he created with a specially constructed light pendulum machine, and his image series, Kleid aus Licht (Dress of Light), for which he used a light cannon to project circular and oval shapes onto the bare skin of a female nude. According to Rolf Sachsse, professor of design theory and history, Heidersberger’s work is characterized by an interest in the “entire production process” and not just in the final “result, which then might become a permanent museum object in its own right.” This is proof enough that the photographer is a “modernist, a true avant-gardist—and you can’t get any better than that in the twentieth century.”

Biography

Testimonial 01

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  • Startseite

    Thomas Köhler

    „Heinrich Heidersberger recognized the iconic importance of this enormous power plant for Wolfsburg, but also for industrial photography overall.“

    Thomas Köhler
    Director, Berlinische Galerie (2019): On the Volkswagen AG power plant image

    Startseite

    Rolf Sachsse

    The visual impact of Heinrich Heidersberger’s work reveals his commitment as an artist to the entire production process and not simply the end result, which then might become a permanent museum object in its own right. This is proof enough that the photographer is a modernist, a true avant-gardist—and you can’t get any better than that in the twentieth century.

    Rolf Sachsse
    Professor of design theory, University of Arts and Design, Karlsruhe (1996): In lieu of a monograph

    Startseite

    Andreas Beitin

    Heidersberger is a representative observer of so-called “second modernity,” a period distinguished from modernity by greater individual autonomy, increased efficiency, industrial production of goods, and other factors.

    Andreas Beitin
    Director, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2019): Mittendrin im Leben. Heinrich Heidersberger’s Wolfsburg Photographs

  • Startseite

    Barbara Steiner

    Heidersberger is a “modernist” par excellence because like the artistic avant-garde he sought to reconcile economy and culture, industry and humanistic ideals, technology and democracy with the help of new technical and economic achievements.

    Barbara Steiner
    Director, Kunstverein Wolfsburg (2001): the Heidersberger Institute concept

    Startseite

    Simone Klein

    Comparisons to the works of Julius Shulman, Werner Mantz, or Hugo and Karl Hugo Schmölz reveal differences in approaches, Heidersberger’s creative freedoms, and the uncompromising attitude with which he stylistically transformed buildings into alluring monuments of modernity.

    Simone Klein
    Photography department head, Sotheby’s Europe (2007): “Heinrich Heidersberger Turns 100,” DGPh annual publication