Facets of the Metropolis - A Tribute to August Sander

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Are you one of one thousand?

Become part of a great work of art! Over 1000 people, 1% of Siegen's population, will become a historical series and installation of portraits. Be one out of a thousand!

I'm sure you've heard about my current project Facets of the Big City with portraits of the people of Siegen. To this I invite you cordially.
With a view to August Sander and his photo series Antlitz der Zeit I make a cross-section of the current Siegen society and update an art or photo-historical position, which is in direct contact with Siegen and the Siegerland. 

My images of people or society are created in connection with statistics of the city of Siegen, which help me to divide the regional population according to different scales and to find a model of society, according to which I can create a representative image of the city. For example, I need 50% women, people of all ages and cultural backgrounds, or different school degrees, and so on. So at the moment I would like to have everyone.

I start into this project with the intention to create a series of 60 portraits until the 60th anniversary of August Sander's death in 2024 and completely in the sense of Sander's face of time. For his 150th birthday in 2026, the series will be increased by a lot, because I plan for a representative social image of the city of Siegen, also in view of the 800th anniversary of the city, ultimately 1000 people to portray.  

If I have convinced you with my plan, please contact me for an appointment to photograph you next week.  This costs you nothing. 

At your place or at work.
First come first serve.

Join a successful new Project

Thomas Kellner has been successfully developing exhibition projects in the art market for 30 years. Thomas Kellner has already participated in over 500 exhibitions, including 4 solo exhibitions in New York. His paintings are in internationally renowned museums. 34 monographs reflect the success of his artistic work.

Join, because it is easy and fun!

Thomas Kellner takes his time for each portrait individually. Thomas suggests dates by e-mail, or you make a suggestion yourself, when it suits you best.


Facets of the Metropol City. A tribute to August Sander

Introduction to the project and its goals

The project around a reflection on August Sander in current photography fits into a trilogy around regional artistic positions. In view of the pandemic, Thomas Kellner has turned his attention to regional themes, targeting artists such as Bernd and Hilla Becher and August Sander, as well as building types typical of the region. In three series of works, Kellner focuses on his home, the city of Siegen and the Siegerland region:

The half-timbered houses of the Siegen industrial area today

With the half-timbered houses of the Siegen industrial area today, by Thomas Kellner, the artist of the same name follows in the footsteps of Bernd and Hilla Becher and the search for the intersection of documentary and artistic photography, of objective distance and penetrating closeness. In doing so, he stripped the photograph of 90 percent of its color and blurred the background, which directs the focus solely on the building. By playing in this way with the technical means and possibilities of today and neither emulating the black-and-white photographs of the Bechers too closely nor leaving the color photography entirely without intervention on his part, Kellner emancipates himself from the artistic models of this series of works. 

The chapel schools

Kellner realized the chapel schools according to the method known to him as Visual Analytical Synthesis, whereby he assembles contact sheets with detailed shots of parts of buildings among each other and presents a deconstructed architecture. By transferring the cultural asset of the chapel school into an artistic framework through the medium of photography, Thomas Kellner gives the in many respects historical subject a new dimension in contemporary (art). At the same time, he dedicates himself to a type of building that the Bechers omitted in their time.

Facetten einer Großstadt. The portrait as a recurring theme

Ähnlich wie bei den Fachwerkhäusern wird auch die Serie mit dem Arbeitstitel Facetten einer Großstadt die Aktualisierung einer kunst- bzw. fotohistorischen Position. Mit Blick auf August Sander, der dem Siegerland zugesprochen wird, fertigt Kellner Menschenbilder in Form eines Querschnitts durch die aktuelle Gesellschaft an. Statistiken der Stadt Siegen helfen Kellner die regionale Bevölkerung nach verschiedenen Maßstäben zu gliedern und ein passendes Schichtmodell zu finden. Diese statistische Größe, die mit dem Projekt einhergeht, visualisiert der Künstler mit den Porträtaufnahmen. So werden beispielsweise 50% Frauen, 9% Kinder bis 10 Jahre oder 29% Personen mit Migrationshintergrund für das Projekt benötigt. 

The similarities and differences between Kellner's previous portraits and Facetten einer Großstadt

The portrait is a recurring theme in Kellner's oeuvre. With Quicksnaps in 1991-94, he responds to the works of Thomas Ruff and plays with the identifiability of people. Furthermore, there are Broken Dolls from 1997, The People of Deyang from 2006, whereby he already depicted a cross-section of people of different ages and social classes, and Deconstructed Portraits from 1999-2002 and since 2016 ongoing with images of colleagues, curators and gallery owners.

The future of the project

Facets of a Big City recalls Sander's sober and matter-of-fact conception of portraits and is oriented on his camera viewpoint, the relationship between sharpness and blurriness, and the poses of his models. In this series, too, only ten percent of the original color remains in the picture. Until the 60th anniversary of Sander's death (2024), 60 portraits will be created. The historical reference to Sander is coupled with the use of a digital SLR camera and subsequent processing of the photograph, including the use of AI. Kellner thus photo-technically transposes the images of people into the 21st century.

Plans to expand the series in 2026

For Sander's 150th birthday in 2026, the series will be elevated by quite a bit.  In view of the 800th anniversary of the city, there will ultimately be 1000 people to portray.  

How to get involved

If you are convinced by this project and would like to be part of this series yourself, please contact us for an appointment to be photographed.

Thank you

Thank you so much for your interest and I hope you'll join this project!

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