Logos Warehouses Containers.
Photographs by Frank Breuer.
Schaden, Cologne, 2005. Unpaged, color illustrations throughout, 12¼x5½".
Typological studies are curious beasts. A typology, by definition, is a systematic classification of things—types—that have traits in common. One can conceivably study anything and arrange the subject matter into tables of classification. Society has benefited greatly from the diligent efforts of men and women, particularly from the latter half of the 19th century forward, who have classified, and thus clarified, all manner of things: living creatures, diseases, chemical compounds, languages, etc. Since the inception of the medium, photographs have been used to support such studies, providing visual references. The classification of Homo sapiens, and by extension our societies (notwithstanding the flawed conceptual stances of the vast majority of these early studies), has also been supported by photography. Two studies from the beginning of the 20th century should immediately come to mind here: in Germany, August Sanders embarked on his monumental project entitled People of the 20th Century, while in America, Edward S. Curtis set out on an equally ambitious project to classify the North American Indian. Frank Breuer, a German from northern Rhineland, studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, under the celebrated Bernd Becher, who, along with his wife Hilla, are the “parents” of contemporary photographic typologies. Breuer’s work is not as narrowly focussed as it could be, but nonetheless the influence of classification is present. Logos Warehouses Containers presents just that: three ever-present elements of industrialized European cities, photographed guilelessly. Individual images reveal little about the photographer; the overall concept for the project is where the intellectual rigor and dialogue is situated. All three elements of Breuer's work rather seamlessly overlap with each other: the large signage emblazoned with company logos that stand dutifully outside shopping malls and along roadways are then mirrored in the placement of logos on bland warehouses that set on the edges of most cities, an architectural parallel that is found in the stacks of shipping containers to be seen in any port city. The book, designed as a mini-version of the modular architecture that Breuer photographs, is not only elegant in proportions but perfectly suited to the work. DARIUS HIMES Read Publisher's Description.

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