Cathrin Schulz . Last Call
Although its days as an airport finally ended two weeks ago, Berlin-Tempelhof Airport has attained mythic status, calling to memory the legendary Berlin Airlift, the Allied “Raisin Bombers,” and feeling of faraway places that seem strangely close by from this airport in the heart of the capital city. As one of the biggest buildings in the world, it is a monumental place of collective remembrance that oscillates between modernity and progress, war and destruction, hope and freedom. Tempelhof is laden with memories, dreams, and plans for the future. Without the lens of its nebulous legends, this urban architectural ensemble appears monumental, calm, and sovereign. Cathrin Schulz powerfully evokes this calm clarity in her photographic series. Through the formal reduction and accentuation of particular colors in her photographs, she creates the possibility for an unobstructed gaze at this iconic airport.
Tempelhof Airport was designed in 1935 by Ernst Sagebiel; construction was begun under the National Socialists and finished by the Americans in the early 1960s. The building undoubtedly has the aesthetic of a National Socialist structure, but these qualities are ruptured by American influences from the 1950s. And it is the aesthetic qualities of her subject matter that Cathrin Schulz places in the foreground. She captures individual elements of Tempelhof Airport from unusual perspectives—the rhythm of window openings, columns, and ceiling beams; parts of the building ranging from an air raid cellar to a bowling alley. Using a reduced visual language, careful choice of motifs, and precise cropping of the image, Schulz condenses singular moments in their own authenticity. The clarity is intensified further through digital manipulation. By heightening contrasts, colors, and saturations, she allows individual details and structures that would otherwise escape our attention to emerge in palpable relief. The objectivity, lack of distortion, and emptiness of human presence in her works reveal the photographer’s affinity to the tradition of the Becher School. The reserved, muted tonality creates the impression of standstill and timelessness—a blank screen onto which we project our own memories and emotions.
The photographs of Cathrin Schulz are being presented for the first time at C/O Berlin. The exhibition in the foyer of the Postfuhramt includes 15 photographs from the series “Berlin-Tempelhof”.
born in Wiesbaden in 1971, was introduced at an early age to the media of film and photography by her family. After studying economic history in Zurich and Boston, starting in 1997 she turned gradually toward photography, educating herself in photographic techniques. She has been working as a freelance photographer since 2002. In addition to her work on private commissions and artistic projects, she has been photographing Germany’s capital city since 2007. The cycle of photographs of Tempelhof Airport are part of this series.