Bernhard « Bernd » Becher (German: [ˈbɛçɐ]; August 20, 1931 – June 22, 2007), and Hilla Becher, née Wobeser (born September 2, 1934), were German artists working as a collaborative duo. They are best known for their extensive series of photographic images, or typologies, of industrial buildings and structures.
Bernd Becher was born in Siegen. He studied painting at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart from 1953 to 1956, then typography under Karl Rössing at the Düsseldorfer Kunstakademie from 1959 to 1961. Hilla Becher was born in Potsdam. Prior to Hilla’s time studying photography at the Düsseldorfer Kunstakademie from 1958 to 1961, she had completed an apprenticeship as a photographer in her native Potsdam. Both began working as freelance photographers for the Troost Advertising Agency in Düsseldorf, concentrating on product photography.
The couple married in 1961.
In the 1950s she was part of the Hundsgruppe, which also included Arnulf Rainer, Ernst Fuchs, Anton Lehmden, Arik Brauer and Wolfgang Hollegha. The works of the group were influenced by Abstract Expressionism and action painting.
She represented Austria, with Valie Export, at the Venice Biennale in 1980, and has twice exhibited at documenta. In 1996 a retrospective of her work was held at the Centre Georges Pompidou. For the season 2005/2006 in the Vienna State Opera she designed the large scale picture (176 m2) « Breakfast with Ear » as part of the exhibition series « Safety curtain », conceived by museum in progress. In 2008 an exhibition of her recent paintings was shown at the Serpentine Gallery which also travelled to the Contemporary Arts Center in the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, (2009). The exhibition was curated by Julia Peyton-Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist in association with Rebecca Morrill and featured thirty canvases and seven films.