Stadt 2/ 67 (BERLIN), 2003
chromogenic print face mounted to Plexiglas
signed, dated and inscribed ‘Stadt 2/ 67/ (Berlin)/ 2003/ 175 x 234 cm/ edition 02/ 04/ Frank Thiel ‘2003’ (on the reverse, lower right)
Sean Kelly Gallery, New York
Private collection, Sydney
'Frank Thiel', Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, 13 March – 17 April 2004
Frank Thiel was born in Kleinmachnow, East Berlin in pre-unification Germany, in 1966. He had been imprisoned by the German Democratic Republic for political activism between 1984-1985 and in 1985 took a departure permit to West Berlin. As a nineteen year old 'repatriated German' he was offered a choice of vocational training or further schooling and in 1987 elected to take a course in photography.
The son of a chemical engineer and a nuclear scientist, Thiel had originally studied mathematics and physics. Coming from the east, Thiel was unaware of the influence of the minimalist photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher and their students of the Dusseldorf school, amongst them Andreas Gursky and Thomas Ruff. Thiel graduated in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came down. He focused on documenting the rebuilding of the city and the emergence of new patterns of urban existence.
The images Thiel took of Berlin from the mid 1990s to mid 2000 were printed on a large scale and have been critically acclaimed, both in Germany and further afield, for their defamiliarising gaze and the way they allow us to reassess our immediate world. Recent work has seen the artist turn his lens on the ice flows in Patagonia, Argentina, still printing large format photographs and reflecting on the flux and transience of even monumental forms.
Thiel has been included in the 48th Venice Biennale, 1999, the 25th Bienal de Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2002 and the 14th Biennale of Sydney, 2004, as well as numerous international surveys. He lives and works in Berlin and is represented by Sean Kelly Gallery, New York.