Author(s): Joerg Bader
For two decades, Swiss photographer Serge Fruehauf has documented fascinating architectural details cast in concrete. But his focus lies not only in the beauty of the built environment, but also in the surprising and sometimes absurd puzzles created by later interventions: stairways that lead to dead ends, disfigured garden walls that have long outlived their purpose. With Serge Fruehauf - Extra Normal, Joerg Bader has selected the best and most interesting of more than one thousand images in Fruehauf's most recent series. Taken throughout Paris, Geneva, Grenoble, and Lyon, Fruehauf's photographs form a critical reflection on architectural modernity mitigated by the photographer's love of the spaces he has photographed, and his deep sympathy for the architects and planners who were drawn to concrete as a versatile and multifaceted building material in the latter part of the twentieth century. Despite its promise, the buildings or clusters of buildings that have come out of the modern methods of construction with concrete appear today as bland monstrosities or grotesque hybrids of traditional and modern architecture.
Fruehauf's photographs are joined by a preface by scholar and curator Martino Stierli, which offers an insightful discussion of how Fruehauf's work highlights these structures as allegories of the current cultural situation.
Joerg Bader is director at the Centre de la Photographie in Geneva. He is an artist, critic, curator, and the author/editor of several books on photography and contemporary art.