Lothar Baum­garten

(b. 1944, Rheinsberg, lives and works in New York and Düsseldorf)

Lothar Baumgarten is known for a practice that focuses on the natural habitat and acts of colonization. Drawn primarily from his travels among Native North and South Americans his anthropological investigations have been artistically expressed through film, photography and text. Baumgarten has reflected upon problems associated with colonialism in site-specific works such as the wall painting Monument for the South American Indian Nations (1982), which was exhibited at Documenta 7, Kassel, Germany the same year. What distinguises his practice is a clear visual logic and consistency between his works, and a decades-long elaboration of an over-arching moral platform. In his complex installations, referring to the disappearance of indigenous cultures, languages and landscapes, Baumgarten creates a new kind of monument, one whose message communicates on a universal level.

The color photographs were made on the banks of Rhine between Düsseldorf and Cologne in Germany. Exploring a landscape permated by industry, Baumgarten’s photographs expose the phantom of “nature” still found within culture. The photographs, though taken in Germany, could as easily have been taken by an anthropologist in a very different environment, such as a tropical rain forest.