Dirk Reinartz
Photographing what is

From May 16 to September 15, 2024 at the LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn!

Together with the Deutsche Fotothek in Dresden and the LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn, the F.C. Gundlach Foundation is showing the first major retrospective of the important photojournalist and image author Dirk Reinartz from May 16, 2024.

Dirk Reinartz (1947-2004) was one of the most important photographers and photojournalists of his time. With numerous publications in journals and magazines such as Stern, Merian, Zeit-Magazin and art, as well as representation in the VISUM photo agency, Dirk Reinartz's photographs had a reach that is almost unimaginable today. With his unmistakable visual language, which is particularly evident in his free serial works, Reinartz succeeds in capturing and visually shaping the attitude to life and zeitgeist. His subjects revolve around major social issues; as a photojournalist, he aims to make social and political themes visible.

As a conceptually planning photographer, he searches for traces of the past in the present. He often develops his subtle photographic narratives in the familiar and geographically close. A central theme in Reinartz's work is his preoccupation with Germany: from the small towns of Buxtehude to the major social reorientation after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In publications such as "Kein schöner Land" (1989) or "Bismarck. Vom Verrat der Denkmäler" (1991), Reinartz shed light on the German culture of remembrance and the persistence of the past in the present. In "totenstill" (1994), an examination of the architectural remains of National Socialist concentration camps, he questioned the representability of horror.

Reinartz's photographic depictions from all over the world are just as accurate, from his beginnings for Stern in Japan or Greenland to reports from Ireland, Indonesia or Romania and self-commissioned works in the USA. The series Action Theatre (1976), for example, shows a largely unknown Dirk Reinartz under the influence of the New Color Photography of the 1970s.

The exhibition visualizes Dirk Reinartzʼ work along those areas of tension that have preoccupied him throughout his life, such as power/powerlessness, proximity/distance, history/present. 

The exhibition is accompanied by the book "Dirk Reinartz. Photographing what is" will be published by Steidl Verlag. The exhibition and book are the result of research and viewing of the entire estate and archive material, which was taken over by the F.C. Gundlach Foundation and the Deutsche Fotothek in Dresden in 2021 with around 10.000 prints, 370.000 negatives, over 100.000 slides and extensive archive material.


The vernissage of the exhibition will take place on May 15 at 7 pm. Admission is free!

Colmantstraße 14-16
53115 Bonn