Lothar Wolleh and Joseph Beuys collaborated on The Unterwasserbuch project as artists and soul mates. The full installation of the Unterwasserbuch and Wolleh photographs was exhibited at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.
During Joseph Beuys's first international exhibition at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Lothar Wolleh accompanied him, documenting the process of setting up the exhibition as well as Beuys in the midst of his work. A year later Wolleh and Beuys used fifty-one of these photos for their collaborative project titled The Unterwasserbuch, composed of a large metal tub filled with water covering the water-resistant photo book, which is being illuminated by an underwater lamp. Wolleh and Beuys were never able to realize the project to the extent they had planned on. Instead of a 200-edition photo book technical difficulties limited them to only a few copies.
In the spirit of Beuys´ 100th birthday in 2021, the Lothar Wolleh Estate and Kerber have published The Unterwasserbuch in a smaller-scale format celebrating the photos taken in Stockholm and paying homage to the two artists' project.
Merging the boundaries
The Unterwasserbuch Project also highlights how Wolleh merges the boundaries between being an artist and a photographer. Wolleh does not solely document, he follows an artistic ideal and composes his photos in ways to give the subject aura and expression. This interweaving of artistic expression and documenting is omnipresent in Wolleh´s works, and notably prominent in the photographs taken of Beuys in Stockholm. Through thorough composition and contrast Wolleh displays Beuys´ mysticism and strictness, translating Beuys´ being into a photograph.