Poetry of time. Michael Ruetz

Timescapes 1966–2023
Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin
Mon–Sun 10 am–8 pm

How can time and transience be made visible, how upheavals and changes in a society or an urban space can be documented? Michael Ruetz has dealt with these questions like no other artist. Since the mid-1960s, he has been observing the changes in natural and urban living environments in places in Berlin, Germany and Europe in a large-scale photographic study and recorded the changes in a series of inventory and snapshots. His timescapes were created over a period of almost sixty years and include more than 600 series with thousands of images. The central concept of timescapes is that the location and line of sight of the camera are always the same, only the time intervals of the image series vary.

The focus of the exhibition at Pariser Platz is the timescapes of Berlin. The profound changes in German society in the post-war period, after reunification and in the present are particularly effectively condensed in the photo series. Places of power or of historical relevance such as Potsdamer Platz, the Brandenburg Gate, Schlossplatz, Gendarmenmarkt, the government district or the Berlin Wall have undergone rapid change, especially since 1989/90. Buildings and visual axes are disappearing or re-emerging, streets are being relegated or renamed, squares are being radically redesigned, open spaces are being developed, fallow land is being revitalized.

Ruetz’s Berlin photographs tell of how architecture can shape and redesign our living spaces and thus gain interpretive sovereignty over our perception. His series of images develop their own aesthetics beyond documentary sobriety and thus reveal a poetry of the time. At the same time, Ruetz's images remind us to rethink the principles of urban development and urban planning in a time of existential ecological and social crises.

The Timescapes and their documentary apparatus are part of the extensive Michael Ruetz archive of the Academy of Arts. In addition to his famous photo series, it also includes his written manuscripts.

Michael Ruetz, born in Berlin in 1940, is one of the most renowned photographic artists in Germany. He began his career in the late 1960s as a member of the Stern editorial team in Hamburg. He became known, among other things, for recordings of the West German student movement. His pictures from the APO period are now just as much a part of the collective image memory as his reportage photos from Greece during the military dictatorship or from the Carnation Revolution in Portugal. Ruetz has been working as a freelance photographer since 1975 and primarily realizes book projects. From 1982 to 2007 he was a full professor of communication design at the Braunschweig University of Fine Arts. He received several prizes, including the Otto Steinert Prize in 1979 and the Villa Massimo Prize in 1981. In 2002 he was appointed Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Michael Ruetz has been a member of the Film and Media Art Section at the Academy of Arts since 1998.

Opening on Wednesday, May 8th at 11 a.m.