He was one of the most renowned architectural photographers of the present day. Whether it was buildings by Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Frank O. Gehry, Richard Meier or Carlo Scarpa, Klaus Kinold (1939-2021) documented them almost all.

The Essen-born photographer always saw himself resolutely as a service provider, a skilled craftsman, a translator, transferring one medium, namely architecture, into another, namely photography. In his preferably black-and-white photographs, he committed himself to a self-chosen sobriety, a pictorial language that excluded everything subjective, expressive and emphatically artistic, because it recognized and exhausted the aesthetic possibilities of strictly documenting photography.

“Architecture,” Ulrich Weisner, director of the Kunsthalle Bielefeld until 1994, once remarked to him, “could be photographed differently, but not really better.” Kinold dealt intensively with each building before documenting it. He first studied all the details before he began to implement them…the structure, the aesthetics, the materials, the construction. It was important to him that his photos were clear, objective, rational and factual in their presentation and excluded any self-interpretation, staging or alienation. And this was also his oft-quoted guiding principle: “I want to show architecture as it is”.*

Klaus Kinold (1939-2021) studied architecture at the Technical University of Karlsruhe under Egon Eiermann from 1960 to 1968. After graduating, he opened a studio for architectural photography in Munich. At the beginning of the 1980s, Kinold began to study panorama photography intensively, especially the work of the two architects Hans Döllgast and Rudolf Schwarz, whom he held in high esteem because they took a rather conservative approach to their architecture. For over 25 years, Kinold was responsible as editor and illustrator for the Swiss trade publication KS Neues, which presented buildings made of sand-lime bricks. From 1987 to 1996, he held a lectureship in photography at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart.

In 1983 Klaus Kinold had his first solo exhibition at the Rudolf Kicken Gallery in Cologne. In addition, his works were shown in numerous solo exhibitions, including the Triennale in Milan (1988), the Kunsthalle Bielefeld (1993), the Neue Sammlung, Munich (1995), the Kunstverein Ingolstadt (1996), the Haus der Fotografie Hannover and the Neues Museum Nürnberg (2001). In 2009, the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich dedicated a comprehensive retrospective to him. And from 2019 to August 2020, the Museum DKM in Duisburg presented the exhibition “Architecture through the eyes of the photographer”. It documented the works of architects Carlo Scarpa, Rudolf Schwarz and Hans Döllgast and referred to an architecture book series conceived by Kinold and published by Hirmer Verlag.

* From an interview with Ulrich Weisner in the exhibition catalogue Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Richter Verlag, Düsseldorf, 1993

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