The Manfred and Wilhelm Beutel Photo Collection

Daniel García Andújar: The Manfred and Wilhelm Beutel Photo Collection, 1998

Daniel García Andújar: The Manfred and Wilhelm Beutel Photo Collection,
CD-ROM, 50 framed digital prints
Coproduction:
Reservate der Sehnsucht, Dortmunder U, 1998

In the course of the “” exhibition in the former Union brewery, Daniel García Andùjar presented a photograph collection he discovered. Compiled by the former brewery workers Wilhelm and Manfred Beutel, the collection documents episodes in the history of which scarcely figure in the city’s contemporary public awareness: the years during the Third Reich, and the almost total destruction of the inner city during World War II.

Andújar’s main contribution to this presentation was a specially developed geographical information system (GIS) enabling the exact time of shooting, as well as the location of the photographer, to be determined for each picture.

The Union brewery appears in the wrong place on every photograph, having been slightly displaced each time. Although Wilhelm and Manfred Beutel are not fictional characters, they were never employed by the brewery. Wilhelm Beutel was a member of the resistance movement, and was murdered by the Nazis in Dortmund. While on a fellowship in Dortmund, Andújar intensively studied the city’s Nazi past, and was struck by the period’s absence from – no square or street, for instance, has been named after Wilhem Beutel in honour to the role he played. In this sense, the purported photo collection is presented less as a faked chronicle than as an homage to Wilhelm Beutel and an attempt to amend Dortmund’s public version of the authentic history lying outside the smart GIS simulations.

Daniel García Andújar: The Manfred and Wilhelm Beutel Photo Collection, 1998

Daniel García Andújar: The Manfred and Wilhelm Beutel Photo Collection, 1998

Daniel García Andújar: Wilhelm / Manfred Beutels Photo Collection, 1998

Daniel García Andújar: The Manfred and Wilhelm Beutel Photo Collection, 1998

Built 1926-27, the brewing house and depot of the Union brewery was Dortmund’s first high-rise building. Like the Zollern colliery or the former Phoenix steelworks, the Dortmunder U is a symbol of the era of the mining industry in the Ruhr Valley. Beer – the “fuel of industry” – was brewed in the striking edifice up to 1994. The building’s popular name comes from a 9-metre high illuminated “U” installed on its roof in 1962. This landmark immediately catches visitors’ eyes as they alight at the railway station.

“Reservate der Sehnsucht” was the title of a spectacular media-art exhibition that was mounted in the Dortmunder U in 1998 and marked the building’s incipient transition from a ruined factory site to a venue of arts and culture. Work is currently underway on a project to refurbish the Dortmunder U as a museum.

Exhibitions

Reservate der Sehnsucht 1998
The exhibition “Reservate der Sehnsucht” dealt with those places in which individual and collective desires meet with fulfilment – or, equally, disappointment. Potential locations could be anything from themed shopping malls to exotic adventure parks.

“The subject is the commercial re-casting of urban, rural and social fabrics, and likewise the individual strategies for life and survival on the fringes of public and private” (Iris Dressler). The artists – among them Daniel García Andújar, Christoph Draeger und Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag – invited to exhibit by the curators Iris Dressler and Hans Christ adopted very diverse artistic strategies in their handling of these interrelated themes.

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