Axel Hutte /   Axel Hütte

Germany 1951


Axel Hutte
Axel Hütte
December 26, 2014

Axel Hütte is a German photographer born in Essen in 1951. He is well known for his unique approach, which has resulted in amazing landscape artworks. He is a member of Düsseldorf School of Photography, and he studied at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in the 70’s, where he had a privilege of learning under Bernd and Hilla Becher.

Photography by Axel Hütte

Raucheck, Austria, 2011 - detail - landscape
Axel Hütte – Raucheck, Austria, 2011 – detail

Hütte’s career


As stated earlier, he attended Düsseldorf Art Academy from 1973 until 1981. Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth are some of the fellow artists who he studied with. Winning the DAAD scholarship allowed him to go to London in 1982, and getting the Scholarship for Deutsches Studienzentrum Venedig took him on a trip to Venice. Between 1986 and 1988 he was receiving the Karl-Schmidt-Rottluff Stipend, and he won Hermann Claasen Award in 1993. All of that had tremendous impact on a developing photographer, but what meant most for him was the time spent with Bernd Becher, and all of the advices and critiques that were given to him.

Approach to photography

Over the time, the architectural focus shifted toward landscapes. Fresh ideals were established with images of industrial buildings that seemed like they were a part of newspaper reportages. Following that tradition, he became famous for his photographs of architecture of post war Germany. Even then his wish to turn to landscapes was clear, as he examined the connections between the buildings and their natural surroundings. The only thing that didn’t change was his decision to keep humans presence away from his thoughts and artworks.

Even though he is known for his landscapes, the photographs made in Las Vegas, New York, Tokyo, Venice, London, which were a part of As Dark as Light series are also crucial part of his work. All of the images were captured during night time, long exposure being the central. The light and dark play an amazing game, and the artist admitted there were actually more details on the images than he could see while taking them.

Photography by Axel Hütte

Axel Hütte - New York, Silvercup, 2006 - Tokyo-2, 2010
Axel Hütte – New York, Silvercup, 2006 / Tokyo-2, 2010

In all of Hütte’s work, he never utilized the technical possibilities of digitalization. Analogue large-format camera is used, and afterwards, depending on the print process, the negatives are of course scanned and, sometimes, just for adding the effect of drama to the atmosphere, the light and shadows end being digitally retouched.

The work is about blurring the borders between reality and fantasy. The perception is everything. For example, if the artist wants to capture a mountain while the snow is falling, he will wait for the perfect opportunity to make his shot. And that is the moment when the viewer sees only pieces of reality, and not the whole picture.

He has a passion for traveling and discovering which is as strong as his bond with his art. This need for exploration has taken him to countries like Japan, Venezuela, Greece, Italy, Austria, USA, Argentina, Portugal, and many more. All of them are captured by his camera and presented to the viewers, so they can also witness the beauty of the world.

Art by Axel Hütte

Gallery - print - works - German
Axel Hütte – Antofagasta, Argentina, 2008 – detail

Distinctiveness of Axel Hütte

The goal of the artist is for the viewers to be amazed when they’re looking at the photographs. They know it is reality, and perceive it just like that, but they can’t escape from the impression that the scenes in the artworks are unreal. There is mystery in his pieces, and the beholders will certainly try to decipher it, to know what is real, and to see the world with the eyes of the artist. By doing this, a bond is created between Hütte and all those who came in contact with his artworks.

Hard work is simply evident. Long hours of waiting and exposing the film. Countless repetitions in order to capture the surface of the water, for instant. Any idea that everything can be an object in an image must be forgotten. It is a way of trials and errors. Sometimes, what seems good to the eye, simply doesn’t look good after it’s captured, for eyes are quite different from the lenses of a camera.

Photography by Axel Hütte

Aranjuez-02, 2006 - detail
Axel Hütte – Aranjuez-02, 2006 – detail

A lot of emptiness is included in his work with landscapes. Humans, their traditions and belongings are being avoided. There isn’t any kind of story behind the pieces. The viewer is lost in time and space, sucked into the beautiful world of photography. It is difficult for artist to return to the same places, for even he doesn’t know where the camera had been set. He will sometimes use a reflection on the water just to irritate the viewers, so the flames of their imagination could shine brightly. Whatever the observers see isn’t created digitally, it is new realm of fantastical reality, and they are encouraged to explore it.

There is no need for any detail in the photographs to be rendered or treated specially, as the image is viewed as a whole, without emphasis on any of its parts. This means that some parts will inevitably be receding and dissolving into the backgrounds, but such is the intention of the artist.

Art by Axel Hütte

Moonlight-1, 2010
Axel Hütte – Moonlight-1, 2010

The artist is choosing the point of view carefully, for it is of utter significance. Since there is no telling of story, he is not directly speaking to the observers. He is not giving the emotions he felt during the shooting. Unlike with other artists, the viewers are invited to enter the photographs, and by doing so, they go on a journey deep within themselves, discovering their inner emotions, rather than being guided by the photographers intention. He stays distant from the audience, but his art is taking them on a trip of learning about themselves. The nature possesses that kind of quality, and the artist is doing a wonderful job by bringing that ability to the viewers.

He has exhibited throughout the world and his artworks are included in many public collections, e.g. AkzoNobel Art Foundation, Arnheim, The Netherlands; BdE~Banco de España, Madrid, Spain; CAC~Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Málaga, Spain; Centre Pompidou, Paris Colección Helga de Alvear, Madrid/Cáceres, Spain; Folkwang Museum Essen; FRAC Centre, Orléans, France; Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, Spain; MFAH~Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA; Fundación/Colección Jumex, Mexico; DF Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg; Huis Marseille Museum voor Fotografie, Amsterdam The Netherlands; MACBA~Museu d’Arte Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf; MNCARS~Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Musée-Château Annecy, Annecy, France; Museum Kurhaus Kleve: Ewald Mataré Sammlung, Kleve; Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn; T-BA21~Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Austria.

Photography by Axel Hütte

Underworld-3, 2008
Axel Hütte – Underworld-3, 2008


Don’t come and see Hütte’s pieces if you are expecting emotions served to you on a plate. Come and see them when you feel curious, adventurous and ready to discover both the world and yourself. Only then you can truly appreciate and realize what is Hütte is trying to accomplish with his work. Only then genius that he is can be understood. Maybe the artworks don’t have humans in them, but while you observe them, they will became a part of you, making you know more about yourself and the world that is around you. Behind every single photograph lies an adventure, a journey far away into the unknown and deep into the subconscious. It is amazing that a solitude image of a distant landscape could awake such self-learning process.

Art by Axel Hütte

Niederwald-01, 2009
Axel Hütte – Niederwald-01, 2009

He is represented by Weng Contemporary gallery in Zug, Switzerland.

Axel Hütte lives and works in Düsseldorf.

All images used for illustrative purposes.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2015Axel Hutte - Shadow of LightsGaleria Helga de Alvear, MadridSolo
2015Landscape in my MindBank Austria Kunstforum, ViennaGroup
2015Human NatureNRW-Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, DusseldorfGroup
2014Axel Hütte - Fantasmi E RealtàFondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, VeniceSolo
2014Mögliche ReflexionenFelix Ringel Galerie, DusseldorfGroup
201440|10 BilderwechselMuseum Frieder Burda, Baden-BadenGroup
2014What is contemporary in contemporay art?Galeria Mário Sequeira, BragaGroup
2014De Marseillaise - fifteen years of collectingHuis Marseille stichting voor fotografie, AmsterdamGroup
201440 | 10. 40 Jahre Sammlung | 10 Jahre Museum Frieder BurdaMuseum Frieder Burda,Baden-BadenGroup
201440I10 - 40 Jahre Sammlung - 10 Jahre Museum Frieder BurdaStaatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Baden-BadenGroup
2014Haupt und NebenwegeKunstraum Alexander Bürkle, FreiburgGroup
2014Common Ground: EarthBorusan Contemporary, IstanbulGroup
2014Los BragalesCentro de Arte La Regenta, Las Palmas de Gran CanariaGroup
2013Arttirol - Kunstankäufe des Landes Tirol 2010 – 2013Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, InnsbruckGroup
2013Jenseits der AnsichtskarteGalerie Stihl Waiblingen , WaiblingenGroup
2012Axel Hütte - Solo ShowGalerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, SalzburgSolo
2012Showroom IIGalerie Mirko Mayer, M-projects, CologneGroup
2012Religion & RitenArt Foyer der DZ Bank Kunstsammlung, FrankfurtGroup
2012Paysage-Documentl’Arsenal de Metz, MetzGroup
2012Fotografie TotalMuseum für Moderne Kunst (MMK),FrankfurtGroup
2012Segment #2Borusan Contemporary, IstanbulGroup
2012HeimatKunstverein Springhornhof,NeuenkirchenGroup
2012German Photography 1960 - 2012: A SurveyBen Brown Fine Arts, Hong KongGroup
2012Learning PhotographieFRAC - Haute-Normandie, Sotteville-lès-RouenGroup
2012Stadt und LandKonrad Fischer Galerie, DusseldorfGroup
2011Emerald WoodsDirimart, IstanbulSolo
2011Axel Hütte - RheingauGaleria Helga de Alvear, MadridSolo
2011Axel Hütte - Towards The WoodGalerie Akinci, AmsterdamSolo
2011Axel Hütte - Solo ShowGalerie Wilma Tolksdorf, FrankfurtSolo
2011NaturKarl-Ernst-Osthaus-Museum, HagenGroup
2011Mythos BergRLB Kunstbrücke, InnsbruckGroup
2011Terra incognita. WeltbilderAltana Galerie der Technischen Universität Dresden, DresdenGroup
2011Segment #1Borusan Contemporary, IstanbulGroup
2011Von HorizontenFotomuseum Winterthur, WinterthurGroup
2011The Enchanted MountainGaleria Mário Sequeira, BragaGroup
2011AccrochargeGalerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, SalzburgGroup
2010Imágenes y sonidos en extinciónCentre d’Art la Panera, LleidaGroup
2010Ars ItinerisMuseo de Navarra, PamplonaGroup
2010ParaisosGaleria Javier López, MadridGroup
2010Nice and EasyGaleria Mário Sequeira, BragaGroup
2010DANS UN JARDINFRAC - Haute-Normandie, Sotteville-lès-RouenGroup
2010An die NaturGalerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst - GfZK, LeipzigGroup
2010Photo ShowGalleri K, OsloGroup
2010INDEX I.0Gallery Fifty One, AntwerpGroup
2010Die Bilder tun was mit mir…Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-BadenGroup
2010Nuit BlanchePatricia Low Contemporary, GenevaGroup
2009Axel Hütte: Out of DarknessWaddington Custot Galleries, LondonSolo
2009DAMASCUSRod Bianco Gallery, OsloGroup
2009Picturing NatureGalerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, SalzburgGroup
2009Die Düsseldorfer Schule: Photographien aus der Sammlung Lothar SchirmerBayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste, MunichGroup
2009Past Present FutureBank Austria Kunstforum, ViennaGroup
2009Pittoresk MARTa Herford, HerfordGroup
2009Espacios UrbanosFundación PROA, Buenos AiresGroup
2009Beyond The PicturesqueSMAK Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, GhentGroup
2009Hängung #4Sammlung Alison & Peter W. Klein, Eberdingen-NussdorfGroup
2009FotofiestaGallery S.E., BergenGroup
2008Axel Hütte: In Strange LandsFundación Telefónica, MadridSolo
2008AXEL HüTTE - Solo ExhibitGalerie Wilma Tolksdorf, BerlinSolo
2008Axel Hütte - LAS VEGAS | ATLANTA | MIAMI | DALLAS | MINNEAPOLISPatricia Low Contemporary, GstaadSolo
2008NatureMuseum Frieder Burda, Baden-BadenGroup
2008PaysagesCentre d'art contemporain de Pontmain, PontmainGroup
2008Espèces d'espaceCentre National d’art Contemporain de Grenoble, GrenobleGroup
2008PhotographsGalerie Rackey, Bad HonnefGroup
2008PHOTOGRAPHS - Newton, Förg, Hütte, Ruff, Struth, HöferSoura Art Galerie, Palma de MallorcaGroup
2008REALStädel Museum, FrankfurtGroup
2008La Construccion del Paisaje ContemporaneoCDAN - Centro de Arte y Naturaleza - Fundación Beulas, HuescaGroup
2008VisiteBundeskunsthalle, BonnGroup
2008SichtbarwerdenMuseum für Gegenwart, BerlinGroup
20088.1 DistorsionesCentro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM),Las Palmas de Gran CanariaGroup
2007JanoMuseo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, MadridGroup
2007Ziemlich HochKunsthaus Kaufbeuren, KaufbeurenGroup
2007Die Kunst zu SammelnMuseum Kunstpalast, DusseldorfGroup
2007Die Liebe zum LichtKunstmuseum Bochum, BochumGroup
2007SITE 9 - 2 presentationSITE Galerie, DusseldorfGroup
2007Wood for the Trees and falling LeavesGimpel Fils, LondonGroup
2007Fotokunst aus 60 JahrenGalerie Münsterland e.v., EmsdettenGroup
2006Axel Hütte - PlacesPatricia Low Contemporary, GstaadSolo
2006Axel Hütte - North SouthGaleria Helga de Alvear, MadridSolo
2006Die Liebe Zum LichtStädtische Galerie Delmenhorst, DelmenhorstGroup
2006Faster! Bigger! Better!ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, KarlsruheGroup
2006More than meets the EyeAntiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, Mexico CityGroup
2006Medium FotografieStampa, BaselGroup
2006Selected WorksJohn Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2006More than meets the EyeMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey MARCO, Monterrey, NLGroup
2006Astrup Fearnley Collection - Photo and VideoAstrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, OsloGroup
2005Trans EmiliaFotomuseum Winterthur, WinterthurGroup
2005Jenseits von ArkadienPinakothek der Moderne, MunichGroup
2005The Telefonica Contemporary Photography CollectionMARCO Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo, VigoGroup
2004Axel Hütte - Terra IncognitaMuseo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, MadridSolo
2004Take Five!Huis Marseille stichting voor fotografie, AmsterdamGroup
2004Fotografía alemana contemporáneaMAMBA - Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Buenos AiresGroup
2004Yet UntitledKunsthalle Nürnberg, NurembergGroup
2004Thomas StruthPinakothek der Moderne, MunichGroup
2004DOUBLE EXPOSUREGalerie Hafenrichter & Flügel (ex Galeria2000), NurembergGroup
2004Double Exposure Brigitte March International Contemporary Art, Stuttgart Group
2004Double ExposureGalerie Graff, Montreal, QCGroup
2003Photography NowEleni Koroneou Gallery, AthensGroup
2003Double ExposureG Fine Art, Washington, DCGroup
2003Photographische DiptychenEdition Schellmann, MunichGroup
2003Exposition collectiveCEAAC - Centre européen d'actions artistiques contemporaines,StrasbourgGroup
2003Summer Holiday Bernhard Knaus Fine Art, FrankfurtGroup
2002A Summer ShowMartin Browne Contemporary, Paddington, NSWGroup
2002Landschaftsblicke Galerie Mathias Güntner, Hamburg Group
2002FotografieGalerie Fahnemann, BerlinGroup
2002Heute bis JetztMuseum Kunstpalast, DusseldorfGroup
2002BergeGalerie Six Friedrich Lisa Ungar, MunichGroup
2001Paysages inhabitésGabrielle Salomon – Art Conseil, ParisGroup
2001Ten Photographers 9-1-01 - 10-7-01Galleri K, OsloGroup
2001Nature in PhotographieGalerie nächst St. Stephan - Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Vienna Group
2001RelationsKunsthalle Villa Kobe,Halle, SaaleGroup
2001Photography from the KPN CollectionHuis Marseille stichting voor fotografie, AmsterdamGroup
2001Distanz und NäheKonsthallen Trollhättan, TrollhättanGroup
2000Axel Hütte - fecitMuseum Kurhaus Kleve, KleveSolo
2000Die Künstlerstiftung Kunsthalle Düsseldorf,Dusseldorf Group
2000Nature & Urbanisme IIGabrielle Salomon – Art Conseil, ParisGroup
2000How you look at itSprengel Museum Hannover, HannoverGroup
2000Façons de PeindreGabrielle Salomon – Art Conseil, ParisGroup
1999Axel Hütte - IslandeGabrielle Salomon – Art Conseil, ParisSolo
1999Insight OutKunsthaus Baselland,BaselGroup
1999Insight OutKunsthaus Hamburg,HamburgGroup
1999ZoomStädtisches Museum Abteiberg, MönchengladbachGroup
1999Hütte Cooper Förg EliassonGalería Heinrich Ehrhardt, MadridGroup
1999ZoomWürttembergischer Kunstverein, StuttgartGroup
1999Insight OutKunstraum Innsbruck, InnsbruckGroup
1998Umgebung und Aussicht Galerie Lisi Hämmerle, Bregenz Group
1998Landscape - the trace of the sublimeEsbjerg Kunstmuseum, EsbjergGroup
1998LandschaftKunstraum Innsbruck, InnsbruckGroup
1998SilosFRAC - Centre, OrleansGroup
1998Landscape - the trace of the sublimeKunsthalle zu Kiel, KielGroup
1997Axel Hütte –TheoreaKunstverein Hannover, HannoverSolo
1997Axel Hütte - TheoreaFotomuseum Winterthur, WinterthurSolo