Galerie Thomas Zander is delighted to announce Passages, an exhibition that brings together photographs by Robert Adams into unexpected dialogue with drawings and paintings by Sabine Moritz. Interiors by each artist are the focus of the presentation, including rare prints by Robert Adams that are featured for the first time. The exhibition draws from various aspects across each artist’s oeuvre and is part of the gallery’s series of open-ended artistic conversations. Born of different cultures, geographies, and decades, the respective works of Robert Adams and Sabine Moritz are nevertheless connected by their finely attuned approaches to observing and recording otherwise quotidian, personal scenes from life in a way that is encompassing and imbued with gravitas. The artists also have in common the subjects of suburban developments, nature, and still lifes—as well as the fact that their environs have served as critical wellsprings for their work, often linking inner and outer perception. The intermingling of their pictures not only teases out the unique qualities of each, it also makes possible a catalytic discourse between the artists’ chosen mediums.

Robert Adams is renowned for his acute observations of suburban American life in Colorado Springs and the greater Denver metropolitan area, where he lived as a teen, and then for more than thirty years until 1997. While teaching literature in the 1960s, Adams began to photograph the surrounding landscape and its historical architecture. By the end of the decade, he had turned his attention fully to recording the deleterious effects of rampant commercial and residential building in a landscape that Jack Kerouac once likened to “the promised land.” The photographs from Adams’s long-term survey of his adopted home would be published in the books The New West, Denver, What We Bought, Eden, and Summer Nights, Walking, which are considered classics of photographic literature. Photographs from and related to those bodies of work as well as those from his celebrated series Our Lives and Our Children, form the central part of Adams’s contribution to the dialogue.


Sabine Moritz’s early works also draw from her experience of living in a particular place and time. While studying at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Moritz executed a cycle of more than 100 charcoal and pencil drawings that were based on her recollections of growing up in a concrete-slab housing block in the suburb of Lobeda, near Jena in the former GDR, where her family lived from 1973 to 1985. The drawings were nearly forgotten until they were re-discovered by Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Walther König during a visit to Moritz’s studio in 2009. Subsequently published as an artist’s book, Lobeda, the drawings are by turns spare, highly personal, and evocative in their simplicity. In 1992, she visited Lobeda for the first time since immigrating to West Germany, and commenced Jena—Düsseldorf, a diverse body of drawings and paintings spurred not only by her memories but also by family snapshots, documentary material, and her own pictures from her recent visit. Introducing color and figures—including the artist and her siblings as children—the scenes are reconstructions of a personal past but allude to a broader collective history. Key works from both series will be shown.

The dialogue also features later works by Adams and Moritz that are less specific in their temporal and geographic connotations. Excerpts from Adams’s two-year study of a particular cottonwood tree in Longmont, Colorado across various seasons (1973–74) and his meditations on the ever-changing surface of the Pacific Ocean (1991–92) converse with Moritz’s ongoing series of oil- and pastel-on-paper works Cabin (2015–present), iterations of a template based on a solitary structure she encountered in the Bavarian alps. Also animating the discourse are both artists’ distinctive contributions to the genre of the botanical still life—including Moritz’s drawings of lilies and Adams’s cycle of distressed alder leaves on Neahkahnie Mountain in Oregon—as well as their immersive renditions of forests and trees, which veer into dynamic, elegiac abstraction.

Robert Adams was born 1937 in Orange, New Jersey, and lives in Astoria, Oregon. Alongside Lewis Baltz, Bernd and Hilla Becher and others, he participated in the seminal exhibition New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape in 1975, which announce a new paradigm for landscape photography. Robert Adams received the Hasselblad Award, as well as MacArthur, Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. His works are in the collections of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Yale University Art Gallery, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Art Institute of Chicago, and Sprengel Museum, Hanover, among many others.

Sabine Moritz was born in Quedlinburg in 1969 and emigrated from the German Democratic Republic to West Germany in 1985. She studied at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Offenbach and the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. The artist lives and works in Cologne. Moritz's work has been exhibited in European institutions including De 11 Lijnen, Oudenburg, Belgium, Kunsthalle Rostock, Kunsthalle Bremerhaven, Von der Heydt Kunsthalle, Wuppertal, Germany. This is Sabine Moritz’s first exhibition with the gallery.

The exhibition catalogue will be published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne.