A 40-hectare area in Munich’s northern district of Parkstadt Schwabing was redesigned in the 1990s in line with the spirit of neoliberalism. It consists of office blocks, a number of residential buildings, and a strip of green space. Arne Schmitt refrains from photographing the area in a descriptive mode, preferring instead to condense its functionality and semantics into black-and-white photographs of thirty-four signs and logos. To this end, he took pictures of fourteen street signs named after figures from the Bauhaus, who in turn have a questionable relationship to the urban environment around them. This compact constellation of signs provides the framework for Schmitt’s work. Short texts chronicling the planning and economic background complete this stocktaking of an ahistorical area, whose more recent history also includes the long-running photographic project Areal by photographer Joachim Brohm.
Zeichen der Zeit is published in conjunction with the exhibition Arne Schmitt – Räson, which runs from 15 February to 19 April 2020 at the Wilhelm Hack Museum’s Rudolf Scharpf Gallery in Ludwigshafen.
Arne Schmitt lives and works in Cologne. His work won him the Wüstenrot Award in 2013. He was a Karl Schmidt-Rottluff scholar in 2016 and received Bremen’s Böttcherstraße art prize in 2018.