Michael Ruetz and Astrid Köppe, Film still from Facing Time, Documentary, 2023, Direction: Annett Ilijew, © Photo: Ines Thomsen, © Annett Ilijew and Michael Ruetz

Poesie der Zeit. Michael Ruetz – Timescapes 1966–2023


How can time and transience be visualised; how can changes in a society or an urban space be documented? Since the mid-1960s, artist Michael Ruetz has been observing the transformation of natural and urban environments at places in Berlin, Germany and Europe in a photographic study. His works, called Timescapes, comprise more than 600 locations and thousands of photographs. The central concept of Timescapes is that the position and visual axis of the camera always remain the same, while only the time intervals of the photo series vary.

The Timescapes of Berlin are at the centre of the exhibition. The profound transformation of German society in the post-war period, after reunification and in the present is condensed particularly effectively in these photo works. Sites of power or historical relevance such as Potsdamer Platz or the Brandenburg Gate, the Schlossplatz, Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin's government quarters or the Berlin Wall have undergone radical change, particularly since 1989/90. Buildings and visual axes disappear or are built anew, streets are returned to previous states or renamed, squares are radically redesigned, open spaces built upon, vacant spaces given new life.

Ruetz' images of Berlin are an expression of how architecture can shape and redefine our environment, thus giving it a prerogative of interpretation over our perception. His photo series develop their own aesthetics beyond documentary sobriety, revealing a poetry of time in the process. At the same time, Ruetz’s images urge to rethink the principles of urban development and urban planning at a time of existential ecological and social crises.

The documentary film Facing Time will be shown at Berlin’s Babylon Mitte cinema on 10 May at 7:30 pm, followed by a discussion on the film. Five photo booklets will be published to accompany the exhibition.


Funded by Gesellschaft der Freunde der Akademie der Künste.


Media Partners

Michael Ruetz: from Timescape 162 – Pariser Platz, Berlin Mitte, Phase 00: 4 Feb 1991, 5:30 pm; Phase 16: 28 Aug 2023, 10:33 am, © Michael Ruetz

Michael Ruetz: from Timescape 178 – Alexanderufer/Ecke Kapelle-Ufer, Berlin Mitte, Phase 05: 2 Jun 1995 12:21 pm, Phase 06: 9 Jun 1996 11:24 am, Phase 13: 26 Nov 2002 2:42 pm, Phase 18: 9 Nov 2020 3:28 pm, © Michael Ruetz

Michael Ruetz: from Timescape 423 – Albrechts Teerofen, Berlin Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Phase 04: 9 Jun 1996 5:04 pm, Phase 09: 26 Jul 2007 5:11 pm, © Michael Ruetz

Michael Ruetz: from Timescape 2040 – Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin Mitte, Phase 01: 16 Jul 1998 12:41 pm, Phase 03: 21 Jan 1999 2:24 pm, Phase 09: 14 Jan 2002 12:00 pm, Phase 14: 13 Jun 2006 4:23 pm, © Michael Ruetz

Amélie Losier: Michael Ruetz, Akademie der Künste at Pariser Platz, Berlin 2023, © Amélie Losier

Trailer: Poesie der Zeit. Michael Ruetz – Timescapes 1966–2023 (1:00 min)

9 May — 4 Aug

Tue – Sun 11 am – 7 pm

Sat 25 May 11 am – 4 pm

Sun 26 May entrance via Behrenstraße 72, 10117 Berlin

€ 10/7
Free admission under 18 years, Tuesdays and every first Sunday of the month


Wed 8 May 7 pm
Free admission

Guided Tours
Tue 5 pm
€ 5 plus exhibition ticket

Artist's and Curator's Tours
Sun 2 pm
€ 5 plus exhibition ticket

Tour for blind and visually impaired visitors
Thur 16 May 5 pm
Free admission

Tour for hearing and deaf visitors with translation into German sign language
Tue 28 May 5 pm
Free admission

Closing Event
Guided Tour with Michael Ruetz
Sun 4 Aug 2 pm

Tickets for Guided Tours

Film Screening at Cinema Babylon
Facing Time by Annett Ilijew
Fri 10 May 7:30 pm

Family Sundays, Special Tours, Workshops and Offers for School Classes