Road Map to Happiness

Hatje Cantz, 2012

Wilhelm Schürmann (*1946 in Dortmund) is not just a photographer, but a well-known collector and curator of contemporary art. This is the first presentation of the photographs he took between 1979 and 1981 in Steinhammerstrasse in Dortmund. Having grown up there, Schürmann not only examines the many facets of his own background but relates impressions of a German cosmos, a small world full of descriptive details. A “roadmap to happiness,” a brochure for a lottery outlet peeking out of a pants pocket, is only one example of his many fabulous images. During his forays the artist captured, with both sensitivity and humor, countless black-and-white photographs of façades, shops, displays in store windows, and living rooms, unfolding a fascinating panorama in which the postwar Ruhr district symbolizes the euphoria of Germany’s economic miracle and the ensuing phase of disenchantment.