Photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher's iconic industrial scenes go on show at Sprüth Magers London

Bernd and Hilla Becher's new show opens today at Sprüth Magers London
Bernd and Hilla Becher's new show opens today at Sprüth Magers London. Photography: Stephen White
(Image credit: Stephen White)

To say that Bernd and Hilla Becher are one of the world's most famous photography couples would be an understatement. The pair, who started exhibiting their photographic work together in 1963, have been hugely influential in the global contemporary art scene, inspiring peers and the wider public with their powerful work on lonely and seemingly mundane industrial structures. 

Working at the renowned Düsseldorf School of Photography (opens in new tab), the Bechers famously taught the likes of Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer and Thomas Struth, making an indelible mark on the world of modern photography. 

Bernd (1931 - 2007) and Hilla (b. 1934) Becher's new show opens today at the Sprüth Magers gallery in London (opens in new tab), featuring five typologies of industrial structures, as well as a selection of single large-scale photographs. This is their first solo show in London since the Camden Arts Centre in 1998 and the largest presentation of their work since 'Cruel and Tender', at Tate Modern, in 2003.  
 
The photographers are known for organising their clear, black-and-white work into systematic typology groups, which are then presented in neat grids, highlighting the differences and similarities between structures. The same has been done for this exhibition; the five typologies on display span industrial facades, cooling towers, gas tanks, coal bunkers and water towers.

And this striking show is the first stop of the photography season about to hit London this month. Coming up very soon is the Barbican's Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture (opens in new tab) exhibition, opening three weeks later and offering a further look into photography's architectural love affair.

Coal Bunkers, 1966-1999

The photographers are known for organising their clear, black-and-white work into systematic typology groups, which are then presented in neat grids, highlighting the differences and similarities between structures. Pictured: Coal Bunkers, 1966-1999, by Bernd + Hilla Becher

(Image credit: Bernd + Hilla Becher)

Mine Head, Zeche Rossenray, Kamp-Lintford, GER, 1979

Mine Head, Zeche Rossenray, Kamp-Lintford, GER, 1979, by Bernd + Hilla Becher

(Image credit: Bernd + Hilla Becher)

Lime Kiln, Kaltes Tal, GER, 1997

Lime Kiln, Kaltes Tal, GER, 1997, by Bernd + Hilla Becher

(Image credit: Bernd + Hilla Becher)

On display are five typologies of industrial structures, as well as a selection of single large-scale photographs

On display are five typologies of industrial structures, as well as a selection of single large-scale photographs. Photography: Stephen White

(Image credit: Stephen White)

Gas Tanks, 1973-2009

Gas Tanks, 1973-2009, by Bernd + Hilla Becher

(Image credit: Bernd + Hilla Becher)

The Sprüth Magers show is the Bechers' first solo exhibition in London since the Camden Arts Centre in 1998

The Sprüth Magers show is the Bechers' first solo exhibition in London since the Camden Arts Centre in 1998. Photography: Stephen White

(Image credit: Stephen White)

Blast Furnace, Rombas, Lorraine, F, 1984

Blast Furnace, Rombas, Lorraine, F, 1984, by Bernd + Hilla Becher

(Image credit: Bernd + Hilla Becher)

The Bechers' clear, black-and-white work has hugely influenced the world of contemporary photography

The Bechers' clear, black-and-white work has hugely influenced the world of contemporary photography. Photography: Stephen White

(Image credit: Stephen White)

Blast Furnace, Boel, La Louvière, B, 1985

Blast Furnace, Boel, La Louvière, B, 1985, by Bernd + Hilla Becher

(Image credit: Bernd + Hilla Becher)

Detail, Petrochemical Plant, Wesseling, GER, 1983

Detail, Petrochemical Plant, Wesseling, GER, 1983, by Bernd + Hilla Becher

(Image credit: Bernd + Hilla Becher)

Mine Head, Siege De Folschwiller, F, 1987

Mine Head, Siege De Folschwiller, F, 1987, by Bernd + Hilla Becher

(Image credit: Bernd + Hilla Becher)

Detail, Duisburg-Bruckhausen, GER, 1995

Detail, Duisburg-Bruckhausen, GER, 1995, by Bernd + Hilla Becher

(Image credit: Bernd + Hilla Becher)

Water Towers, 1969-1993

Water Towers, 1969-1993, by Bernd + Hilla Becher

(Image credit: Bernd + Hilla Becher)

ADDRESS

Sprüth Magers London
7a Grafton Street 
W1S 4EJ    

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Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).