What would happen if humankind were to disappear? What would planet earth be like without us? In his monograph ‘The World Without Us’, Rainer Zerback (b. 1958) shows us such a world – in quiet images, shimmering with heat but without any trace of apocalyptic bluster. Targeted post production shifts a sharper focus onto individual everyday items. Merely traces of human civilization remain: cars, electricity pylons, all kinds of different dwellings. What at first glance gives the impression of peaceful seclusion, is upon second glance unsettling and disconcerting.
Rainer Zerback explores these traces in his photographic work. Which explains why in earlier series he has also dealt with mass tourism just as much as traces of industries of the past in urban space.
Rainer Zerback began ‘Contemplationes’ at the end of the 1990s and continued the series until 2022. It comprises a total of sixty-nine works, fifty of which are collected for the first time in this publication. In her accompanying text, cultural scientist Lotte Dinse for the first time in reception history develops the interpretation of the series as a depiction of a ‘World Without Us’.
Edited by Rainer Zerback, Ludwigshafen am Rhein; Rainer Danne, Städtische Galerie Iserlohn; Nadine Grünewald, Kunstverein für Mecklenburg und Vorpommern in Schwerin; Marco Hompes, Kunstmuseum Heidenheim; Bettina Michel, vhs-photogalerie stuttgart.
Texts by Lotte Dinse
Design by Frank Georgy, Cologne
ISBN 978-3-7356-0949-6, 30 × 24 cm, 96 pages, 51 color illustrations, hardcover
Kunstmuseum Heidenheim 13 Aug – 5 Nov, 2023
Kunstverein für Mecklenburg und Vorpommern in Schwerin 23 Sep – 26 Nov, 2023
vhs-photogalerie stuttgart 23 Feb – 5 May, 2024
Städtische Galerie Iserlohn 26 Apr – 15 Jun, 2025