Artists > Keetman, Peter
The work of Peter Keetman (1916-2005) occupies a central place in post-war photographic modernism in Germany. As the title of the retrospective Designed World from 2016 expresses, it brings together two central trends. On the one hand, the modernist will to form, to design, to experiment and to abstraction, on the other hand, a humanistic reference to the world and the turn to reconstruction, to the city, to nature, right down to its elementary building blocks. Two currents that flow into one another in Keetman's work.
German history and the Second World War, from which Keetman returned as an invalid, are also inextricably linked to Keetman's photography and biography.
At the end of the 1940s, Keetman was one of the young wild people of the fotoform group who, inspired by the experiments of the pre-war avant-garde, wanted to develop a new language of photography based on formal reduction, on the creative power of light and the subjectivity of individual world experience. Together with Otto Steinert and the other fotoform colleagues, Peter Keetman represents the dawn of photography.
Peter Keetman escapes any formalism by working in many fields of photography - capturing the reconstruction of Munich, working out the hidden structures of the landscape and natural phenomena, discovering the reflection of the bigger picture in the smallest details and translating the dynamics of the economic miracle into abstract images. Particularly noteworthy are his series in the Wolfsburg Volkswagen factory from 1953, as well as his “Schwingungen” – Keetman's great signature in the history book of experimental photography. But the exciting interplay of free photography and applied commission is also the subject of his oeuvre, which allows us to discover a central figure of post-war photography in its many facets.