Axel Hütte features among the many photographers who were trained by Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie in the 1970s. He also explores the theme of anonymous architecture, that of offices, firms, housing estates, and industrial buildings standing on the outskirts of large cities. His images assert a way of thinking about frontality, perspective and the descriptive potential of the camera, reflecting contemporary life styles without portraying them. Hütte has been interested since the 1980s by the architecture of Paris, Munich and Berlin, and photographs turn-of-the-century and postwar residential buildings, as well as areas of circulation. Railway stations, Metro stations and carparks, various circuits, stairwells, large rusty gates… all are part of a strict and sober vision of the cityscape. In 1989-1990, Hütte turned his attention to Tuscan landscapes. There, pillars, arches and powerful walls truncated by the foreground all suggest, through their openings, landscapes that are becalmed and hilly in a diaphanous light. In his lengthy series of night photographs embarked upon in the 1990s, Hütte grasps still unknown aspects of the city. Resulting from very long exposure times, these sombre images express the breakdown of the reality of things. Printed on translucent surfaces and placed in light boxes, the images of Las Vegas, for example, transform the city into an almost surreal abstract vision, by magnifying the effects of shadows and artificial lights of the place.
Axel Hütte was born in Essen, Germany, in 1951. Between 1973 and 1981, he studied photography at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie under the supervision of Bernd and Hilla Becher. There, in particular, he met Andreas Gursky and Thomas Ruff. He was awarded a grant which enabled him to work in London in 1982. Two years later, his first solo show was held at the Konrad Fischer Gallery in Düsseldorf. Others would follow in Rotterdam (1989), Hamburg (1993), Bonn (1995), Winterthur (1997) and Amsterdam (2001). A retrospective of his work was organized by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid in 2004.