HAMBURG, GERMANY |   I am a huge fan of the films of Wim Wenders. Imagine how interesting it was to find out that Wenders recently had an exhibition of his photography in Germany. It turns out he likes empty spaces as much as I do when I take photographs abroad.

The exhibition was co-hosted by the Falckenberg Collection and Wenders Images Berlin. Comprised of almost 60 images, taken from 1983 to 2011, this show entitled Places, strange and quiet,” was on view from April 15 to August 19, 2012.

It assembled a series of large-scale photographs taken in countries around the world from Salvador, Brazil; Palermo, Italy; Onomichi, Japan to Berlin, Germany; Brisbane, Australia, Armenia and the United States.

Wim Wenders's "The Chopper" (2005), Digital C-print, 124.5 x 125 cm | Courtesy Wenders Images
Wim Wenders’s “The Chopper” (2005), Digital C-print, 124.5 x 125 cm | Courtesy Wenders Images

A majority of the photographs displayed images of exteriors and buildings as well as large-scale depictions of towns and landscapes. In a prepared statement, Wenders said:

“When you travel a lot, and when you love to just wander around and get lost, you can end up in the strangest spots. I have a huge attraction to places. Already when I look at a map, the names of mountains, villages, rivers, lakes or landscape formations excite me, as long as I don’t know them and have never been there … I seem to have sharpened my sense of place for things that are out of place. Everybody turns right, because that’s where it’s interesting, I turn left where there is nothing! And sure enough, I soon stand in front of my sort of place. I don’t know, it must be some sort of inbuilt radar that often directs me to places that are strangely quiet, or quietly strange.”

Wim Wenders is a painter, actor, writer and a filmmaker. He first made his name as a leading director of the New German Cinema in the 1970s. He became a cult figure on the international film scene by the mid 1980s. In 1983, while scouting for locations for the film Paris, Texas (1984), he began to use photography as an art medium in its own right. Wenders was born in Düsseldorf in 1945. After two years of studying medicine and philosophy and a yearlong stay in Paris as a painter, he attended the University of Television and Film in Munich from 1967 to 1970. Wenders was a founding member of the German film distribution company Filmverlag der Autoren in 1971. He established his own production company Road Movies in Berlin in 1975.

Film director Wim Wenders, who shot the docume...
Film director Wim Wenders, who shot the documentaries “Buena Vista Social Club” in 1999 and last year’s “Pina.”

Film fans will likely emotionally connect with the piquant photographs of desolate landscapes in this exhibition, even though Wenders himself was not the principal photographer of his atmospheric auteur films. For instance, it is instructive to realize that veteran cinematographer Henri Alekan served as Wenders’s director of photography for the haunting film Wings of Desire.

Nevertheless, Wenders experiments with photography, some of which are unremarkable.  This is not the first time Wenders has exhibited his work. A major survey of his photography, entitled “Pictures from the Surface of the Earth,” also engage with themes including memory, time and movement.  This latter survey was shown in museums and art institutions worldwide. Wenders has also published numerous books with essays and photographs.

For those who are curious to glimpse the work Wenders exhibited in “Places, strange and quiet,” here is a slideshow:

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