17 April 2015 to 30 July 2015
Special exhibition featuring the photography project of Thomas Stelzmann and Wolf R. Ussler
By the end of 2018, an era of Germany history will end: Germany’s subsidised hard coal mining industry will be over.
For their photography project Keine Kohle mehr (“No more coal“), Thomas Stelzmann and Wolf R. Ussler, both from Düsseldorf, brought ex-coal miners back to the sites of their former mines and created images of these scenes. Their life stories form the essence of the photographs these artists have compiled and analysed. The stories reveal the realities and events that shaped the lives the people in the photographs and which often brought them meaning.
Ussler and Stelzmann frequently worked against the clock: many photos were taken just before or even as the mines were being demolished. Literally in the final minutes, the last images of a work site were snapped amidst the demolition equipment, where once thousands of men toiled for their daily bread. The goal of the photography project is not simply to document and preserve a memory of an industrial culture and its impact on the people that is virtually over. The project also aims to convey the structural changes taking place as the mining landscape makes way for a new one.