Horst Ademeit
Horst Ademeit

Horst Ademeit

Horst Ademeit

“It is just a question of time before I catch them red-handed,” Ademeit claimed. Horst Ademeit (1937-2010) obsessively devoted close to 40 years of his life to collecting information – through photography and meticulous note-keeping – that would establish the existence of what he called “cold rays,” unseen forces that he believed severely impaired and impacted his life and surroundings.

First trained as a textile designer, Ademeit entered Joseph Beuys’s class at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in the late 1970. When his work was rejected as too conservative—too academic—he left not only Beuys’s class but the art world at large. He took up photography in order to contend with his mounting “cold rays” concern and as a result of this mental state he was positioned within Photography Brut.

With the help of Polaroid photography as well as analog and digital photography, he initially started with documenting his immediate environment – his apartment building, its basement and yard, and nearby houses – he then moved further afield, scouring his neighbourhood for traces of “radiation damage.” Construction sites, automobiles, bicycles, and garbage piles were all subject to his photographic studies, each precisely labeled with date, time, and location. When he found that a building’s window shades were suspiciously left closed, Ademeit returned to the location daily, over the course of months, and if they remained that way he would note it in the margins of the original Polaroid.

These observation photos document the efficacy of this threatening power in his immediate life environment, showing construction site work, abandoned bicycles, accumulations of garbage, and oil slicks. Each of the several thousands of daily images is numbered, dated, and inscribed with indications of the date, the smells, sounds, weather and the instruments’ readings, as well as Ademeit’s reflections concerning the news and daily life in his miniature handwriting that is hardly readable. Ademeit created structures of order for himself in an attempt to make sense of an otherwise all-consuming presentiment and presented this in exactly 6.006 polaroids.

Horst Ademeit (1937-2010) was born in Cologne, Germany and lived and worked in Düsseldorf, Germany, where he ultimately passed away in 2010. He was discovered in 2008 by Delmes & Zander, where he had his first exhibition. In the year of his passing he had his breakthrough in New York at White Columns and a year later in 2011 he had his first solo museum exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin. He has since been in many group exhibitions in various galleries mainly in Germany, but also in London at Somerset House and at David Zwirner in New York. His work is home in collections such as Art Institute of Chicago, Collection Bruno Decharme and Delmes & Zander.

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae

CV Horst Ademeit

Born in Cologne, Germany, 1937
Died in Düsseldorf, Germany, 2010
Lived and worked in Düsseldorf, Germany


1964 Cologne Art and Craft school
1964 Textile Design, Krefeld
1970 Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf under Joseph Beuys

Selected exhibitions

Making sense of life, Gerhard Hofland Galerie, Amsterdam (NL) solo

Flesh Arranges Itself Differently, The Roberts Institute of Art, London (UK) group

Horst Ademeit / Saioa Fischer Abaigar – Ich fordere Sie auf, das Einsteigen in Meine Wohnung zu unterlaßen!, Delmes & Zander, Cologne (GER) Duo

She sees the shadows, Mostyn, Llandudno (UK) group
Deutschland Ist Keine Insel, Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, Bonn (GER) group

The Museum of Everything, Mona – Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart (TAS) group

Horst Ademeit – Leben in der Strahlenkälte, Delmes-Zander, Berlin (GER) solo
Acchrochage, Delmes & Zander, Cologne (GER) group
Revolt of the Sage, BlainSouthern, London (UK) group

Under the Clouds: From Paranoia to the Digital Sublime, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto (P) group
Works in Series, Delmes & Zander, Berlin (GER) group
System and Vision, David Zwirner, New York (US) group
Big Bang Data, Somerset House, London (UK) group)

Horst Ademeit – Polaroids, Gebrüder Lehmann, Dresden (GER) solo

HEIMsuchung, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn (GER) group
Paul Goesch – Künstler, Delmes & Zander, Cologne (GER) group
Horst Ademeit, Gebrüder Lehmann, Dresden (GER) group
Every Friend Of My Friend Is My Friend (part 2), curated by Norma Mangione Gallery at Chert, Berlin (GER) group

Karl Junker, Architekt – Künstler, Delmes & Zander, Cologne (GER) group
30th Biennale São Paulo, São Paulo, (BR) group
Horst Ademeit, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago (US) solo
Tomorrow, Die Bastei, Cologne (GER) group
Horst Ademeit, Norma Mangione Gallery, Turin (IT) solo

Secret Universe I – Horst Ademeit, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (GER) solo

Horst Ademeit, Delmes & Zander, Cologne (GER) solo
Billy Childish/Horst Ademeit/Aubrey Mayer/Dan Miller, White Columns, New York (US) group
White Room: Horst Ademeit, White Columns, New York (US) solo

3. Fotofestival Mannheim-Ludwigshafen-Heidelberg, Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Mannheim-Ludwigshafen-Heidelberg (GER) group
Künstler der Galerie, Delmes & Zander, Cologne (GER) group
Horst Ademeit – Wohnen in der Strahlenkälte, Delmes & Zander, Cologne (GER) solo


Art Institute Chicago
Collection Bruno Decharme
Delmes & Zander


‘Horst Ademeit: Secret Universe 1’ by Claudia Dichter, Udo Kittelman

‘Horst Ademeit: ‘Living in the Radiant Cold’ by Nicole Delmes and Susanne Zander (red.)

‘Der Fotograf der Kältestrahlen – Horst Ademeit’ by Saioa Fischer Abaigar

Horst Ademeit
Horst Ademeit