The work is part of the Assindia Project and represents an innovative way of approaching the singular aesthetics of post-war European architecture, tracing its common features and mapping its types. The photos, taken at night, reveal a mysterious and supernatural atmosphere created by the streetlights and the shadows cast by the trees, generating a landscape of interchangeable and formless façades inspired – ironically – by the individualistic dream of building one’s own home. The works show Kaesbach’s fascination with the immobility of the suburbs, where architecture and its formal language seem to be unchanged, making the buildings erected immediately after the war indistinguishable from later ones.
Through a study of the residential buildings constructed in German suburbs starting in the Fifties – and thus from the reconstruction that followed the Second World War up to new constructions that are formally indistinguishable from those built previously – Kaesbach ultimately creates nocturnal metaphysics: a new construction of photographic time and place. Clearly bearing in mind the precepts theorized by the Düsseldorf School, the photographic avant-garde formed starting in 1976 at the Kunstakademie around Bernard and Hilla Becher, Kaesbach arrives at creating archetypical images through the objective position he takes vis-à-vis the photographed subject and the dehumanization of the images. This is achieved through serial repetition with a “minimum deviation”, with the intent to repeat the photographic structure and the dwelling types that are identified.
Saale, Niederrhein, Rhein-Main and Ruhrgebiet are some of the places chosen for a project that is always inevitably unfolding, as its linchpin is static development over time. The photographic structure is fixed: the central framing at eye level with a series of levels formed by basic elements – the road, the pavement, the fence, the plants – and this isolates and highlights a home. Buildings that are similar but built in very different eras are united by the expanse of the night sky and the artificial lighting of streetlights that, along with extended exposure time, projects a series of suspended and unnatural shadows on the houses, which have already been transformed into enigmatic and solitary monuments.
Jan Kaesbach lives and works in Frankfurt and London. He studied at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, where he was named best student in his year. He has worked with English artists who have won multiple awards, of the calibre of Justin Coombes and Tom Hunter. His works have been displayed at the University Club di Oxford, the Frankfurter Kunstverein and Christie’s Silent Auction (Frankfurt), and at The Other Art Fair in London. In 2012 he received acclaim from international critics and, despite his youth, he was awarded the prestigious Kevin Slingsby Prize and the Stauder from the Kunsthaus in Essen. In July 2013 he participated in the Deutsche Börse Residency programme at the Frankfurter Kunstverein, and a few months later he was a finalist for a scholarship offered by the city of Frankfurt. The following year his works were auctioned by the Atelierfrankfurt/Christie’s in Frankfurt, gaining great market success. From March to May 2015 he was Artist-in-Residence at the famous Alte Spinnerei contemporary art centre in Leipzig (Germany). In 2016 he took part in the Art Miami, in the Expo in Chicago and in the MIA Photo Fair (Milano). He won several prizes, among which two artistic stays (in Leipzig in 2015 and in Bergamo in 2014) and the Platform Graduate Scheme, Modern Art Oxford in 2012.