On the occasion of the European Month of Photography Berlin 2023 Walter Conrads and Helga Weckop-Conrads present at the gallery in Charlottenburg the exhibition URBANISM. On display are rare photographs from several solo exhibitions of the artists* at Galerie Conrads. Works from the series“ leaks”, 2010 by Rosemary Laing, Sydney; ” Case History 1997/98″ and “Salt Lake”,1986, by Boris Mikhailov, Ukraine; from series “Uncommon Places 1973 – 1978” by Stephen Shore, USA; “8th Ave/35th St, 02” by Beat Streuli, Switzerland, as well as photographs from current projects by Anastasia Samoylova, USA.

ROSEMARY LAING (Australian, b. 1959)

The series leak, flight research, groundspeed, bulletproofglass, and One dozen unnatural disasters in the Australian landscape have created not only hauntingly exquisite aesthetic experiences but poetic and resonant relationships between people, place and history. Juxtapositions of incongruent elements set up productive tensions such as a bride floating above the landscape in flight research; the bloody impact of gunshots on an antique white wedding dress in bulletproofglass; decorative patterns of carpet laid on the floor of a rainforest or dramatic coastal sites in groundspeed; or mass-produced contemporary furniture in Australia’s remote interior in one dozen unnatural disasters in the Australian landscape. The connections they inspire are poetic, metaphorical and allusive rather than literal.

Laing’s works frequently appear to document a disaster or momentous event and pose potent commentaries on society and culture evoked through intense moments of drama or catastrophe. Her highly coded compositions do relate specifically to Australia’s colonial history, but the tension she employs between a shared physical reality and an imagined world transforms the works beyond national borders. As George Alexander, the writer and critic articulates, her “images remain in collective memory as ciphers for what it was like to be alive in the opening years of the 21st century.”

Rosemary Laing , Leak: Aristide, 2010, C-type photograph, Ed. 8, 127 x 240 cm,
Boris Mikhailkov, Case History 1998 #333, 2000, C-Print auf Kodak Endura, Ed. 2/10, 61 x 39,5 cm


Boris Mikhailov grew up in the former Soviet Union, living and working for decades in his hometown of Kharkov (or Kharkiv). He completed an engineering education and turned to photography as a self-taught photographer from 1966. Mikhailov is considered today as the most important photographer who was already active in the times of the Soviet Union. Mikhailov works conceptually and socially documentary.

Mikhailov’s series “Case History”, which is shown in excerpts in our exhibition URBANISM, is considered outstanding in contemporary art. In this series he turns to the human consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union. For this purpose Mikhailov systematically photographed Kharkov homeless people, whose trust he gained. These approximately 400 photographs show in a shocking way the situation of people who, in view of the collapse of the economic and social order, can no longer fall back on social security systems. Mikhailov’s very direct approach, often perceived as exposing, can be understood as a direct criticism of the “beautiful facades” of the post-Soviet capitalist consumer world.

STEPHEN SHORE (American, b. 1947)

Shore is a pioneer of color photography, and one of the first artists to expand the medium beyond fashion and commercial usage. Some of Shore’s most famous photographs are from his time spent at Andy Warhol’s Factory and from his cross-country road trips. In 1971 at the age of 24, Shore became the second living photographer, after Alfred Stieglitz, to have a solo exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He has been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1974); a Guggenheim Fellowship (1975); and a Royal Photographic Society Honorary Fellowship (2010). Shore’s works are in the permanent collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; among others.

Shore´s first solo show in Germany took place in Kunsthalle Düsseldorf 197?The first U.S. survey of Stephen Shore’s entire photographic career happened in fall 2017 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. We are pleased to present a selection of works from the iconic series „Uncommon Places“ by the groundbreaking American photographer.

Stephen Shore, West 15thSt. and Vine St., Cincinati, Ohio 5/15/1974, 2000, C-Print on Fuji Crystal Paper, Ed. 4/8, 51 x 61 cm

BEAT STREULI (Switzerland, b. 1959)

Since the 1990s, every shot taken by the artist Beat Streuli, while founded in a solid conceptual framework, inevitably invites us to plunge into the spontaneous movement of daily life in the city. Immersed abruptly in this mass, we come face to face with the often huge photographs and monumental installations created by Beat Streuli, and are confronted with some figure or detail of urban life. We are transported by these portraits, picked out from the crowd on large surfaces. Often, the face becomes an absorbing and reflecting canvas, blending the personality of the subject with that of the observer. It then becomes what philosopher and critic Françoise Gaillard calls a sort of interface, a medium which directly compels the attention and in which the gaze is constructed in the interaction of artist and spectator. […]

As in all of Beat Streuli’s work, we are confronted with the similarities and differences of urban settings in a globalized world widely assumed to be increasingly stereotypical and similar. Only a deeper reading reveals the particularities of individual cities, their “inevitable specificity”. The force of these photographs and videos lies in the meaning they lend to details, to the capture of the significant fragment that might hold a key to the essence of beings and things. Similarly, the balance created by the artist between the sensible and the intelligible guides the viewer, unveiling a way to construe the images that draws on the complex layers of his medium.     Paul di Felice 2015

Beat Streuli, 8th Ave/35th St, 02_63/25, 2006, C-Print, Ed. 3, 151 x 201 cm


is an American artist who moves between observational photography and studio practice. Her work explores notions of environmentalism, consumerism and the picturesque. Recent exhibitions include Fundación Mapfre; C/O Berlin; Eastman Museum; Chrysler Museum of Art; The Photographer’s Gallery, London; Kunst Haus Wien; HistoryMiami Museum; and Museum of Fine Arts, Le Locle. In 2022 Samoylova was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize. Her work is in the collections at the Perez Art Museum, Miami; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta and Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; among others. Published monographs include Image Cities (Fundación Mapfre / Hatje Cantz, 2023), Floridas (Steidl, 2022) and FloodZone (Steidl, 2019).

Anastasia Samoylova, Construction in Normandy Shores, 2017, Pigment print, Ed. 4/5, 101,6 x 81,3 cm

Thomas Struth (Germany, b. 1954)

Struth’s photographs are a mixture of documentation and interpretation. His focus is on “precise seeing” and the interaction between the viewer and the shown one. His works predominantly show urban life. Streets, cityscapes, people and museums are the artist’s most photographed motifs. Struth prefers central symmetry, which he loosens up during the working process. The abandoned streets in Europe and Asia, the work groups “Unconscious Places” and “Portraits” and his series of museum pictures from the 1990s made the photographer world-famous.

Thomas Struth, Huanghe Lu, Shanghai, C-print, Ed. 2/10, 50.5 × 60.8 cm

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