genius loci - two German gentlemen in the land of the Tsars

"The same as his countryman and predecessor in the Urals, Georg Wilhelm Henning, Kellner reconstructs the customary world so that it stays in movement and continually delivers new perspectives today and in the future as well." (Irina Chmyrewa)

This project deals in an artistic-photographical manner with two important industrial areas in Germany and Russia, which are liked to each other through the common history of industrial culture. I’m talking of my hometown Siegen and two of the biggest cities of Russia, Yekaterinburg and Perm. 

There is something that scarcely anybody knows: Yekaterinburg and Perm were founded by the native of Siegen, Georg Wilhelm Henning. Georg Wilhelm de Gennin , as he is called in Russia, October 11th 1676 till April 12th 1750, was a German born officer and artificer, who was invited from Peter the Great to Russia because of having an outstanding knowledge in metallurgy. In the 1720ies he founded the first mining schools in Russia, travelled to Europe to promote specialists in mining and built new plants in the Urals, which developed in a minimum of time to one of the most important economic and educational centre: Yekaterinburg and Perm. 

In 2013 I followed the traces of Henning and photographed important enterprises in Germany and Russia to show their similarity, namely the processing of steel and metal. As result there emerged a series about the industrial architecture in the Siegerland and the Urals, that presents the heretofore little known relation between these industrial areas. The exhibition with my works started already in November in Yekaterinburg und moves afterwards to Moscow, Krasnodar, Pingyao (China) and back to Siegen. In addition, there will be a book with wonderful photographs showing on 120 pages the industrial architecture and culture of different regions, and essays telling interesting things about the Siegerland, the origins of Henning and my work as an artist. 

Since 1989 I’m living in Siegen and since 1997 I’m working there as a freelance artist and photographer. My works were shown in solo exhibitions in London, Paris, Brasilia and New York. Museums, like in Houston, Chicago, Rochester and Rio de Janeiro bought my pictures for their collections. My works for the bicentenary jubilee of the Boston Athenaeum and for the 50th anniversary of Brasilia’s capitol Brasília, belong to the biggest projects of the last years that I worked on. 


„The architecture is similar to a full stop which completes the artistic process and at the same time is the starting point for the observer's new artistic journey - that is what Kellner does.” (Irina Chmyrewa)


Excellent Photographer Award, 2nd International Industrial Photography Festival, Shenyang, Tiexi, Peoples Republic of China


Kellner, T. Chmyreva, I., Bingener, A., Berkovitch, A., 2014. genius loci. Lüdenscheid /Berlin: seltmann + söhne.   >>>

Kellner, T. Chmyreva, I., Berkovitch, A., genius loci. Yekaterinburg: Metenkow House Museum of Photography.   >>>


"Just like his compatriot and predecessor in Urals, Georg Wilhelm Henning, Kellner reconstructs the familiar environment so that today as well as in the future it stays in motion forever and steadily provides new preceptions." Chmyreva, I., 2013. genius loci. Thomas Kellner. Zwei Siegener im Zarenland. Berlin/Siegen: Seltmann+Söhne.

"Music and architecture: the architecture is similar to a full stop which completes the artistic process and at the same time is the starting point for the observer's new artistic journey - that is what Kellner does." Chmyreva, I., 2013. genius loci. Thomas Kellner. Zwei Siegener im Zarenland. Berlin/Siegen: Seltmann+Söhne.

"He starts to play the rhythm of the world created by mankind, full of constructed churches and factories, and serves the observer the rhythm of a whole landscape - not the individual monuments." Chmyreva, I., 2013. genius loci. Thomas Kellner. Zwei Siegener im Zarenland. Berlin/Siegen: Seltmann+Söhne.


genius loci

September 10 - October 15, 2017
Kloster Arendsee, Germany


March 26 - June 10, 2017
Kunstforum Gummersbach, Germany


Ballarat International Photobiennale
August 22 - September 20, 2015
Ballarat, Australia


genius loci - Zwei Siegener im Zarenland
November 08 - 29, 2015
Kultur Flecken Silberstern e.V., Freudenberg, Germany


genius loci - Zwei Siegener im Zarenland

September 11 - 27,2014

Weisbachsches Haus, Plauen, Germany


genius loci - revisited

November 20, 2014 - 6 January, 2015

RWE Siegen, Germany


genius loci - Zwei Siegener im Zarenland

September 16 - 23, 2014

Pingyao International Photography Festival curated by Zhang Guotian


genius loci - Zwei Siegener im Zarenland

August 6 - 11, 2014

Photoparade Uglich, Russian Federation


genius loci - Zwei Siegener im Zarenland

May 20 - July 7, 2014

CDU Fraktion, Landtag NRW,  Düsseldorf, Germany


genius loci - Two german gentlemen in the land of the Tsars

January 19 to  March 1, 2014

Art Galerie Siegen, Siegen, Germany


genius loci - Two germans in the land of the Tsars
November 14 to December 15, 2013
Metenkow House of Photography, Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation



technique: C-Print

edition: 12+3 AP



01-06: 2690 Euros / 2990 USD
07-09: 3690 Euros / 3990 USD
10-11: 4990 Euros / 5490 USD
12: 7900 Euros / 8190 USD


Please check on the specific details of the image in the subtitles


prices are matter of sold prints,
please ask me or your closest gallery
for the current price


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Collagen 2013

Here are some examples of collages on postcards from the mail-art-project in 2013.


Province Channel of Liaoning. 24 April 2016 >>>


Phoenix Chinese Channel. 25 Mai 2016, 7:42 am >>>


Pervouralsk TV. The News, 18 Juni 2013, 6 pm >>>


UGMK: Our News, 25 Juni 2013, 7 pm >>>


4 Channel. The Morning Express, 12 November 2013, 7-9 am >>>


4 Channel. The News, 11 November 2013, 7 pm >>>


4 Channel. The Hearing Test, 13 November 2013, 2 pm >>>


OTB News, 14 November 2013, 7 pm >>>


Yamal-Region. The Yamal Time, 23 November 2013 >>>


41 Channel. The Taste Of Life, 7 December 2013, 11:30 pm & 7 pm >>>


International Industrial Photography Festival, 2016. Thomas Kellner. In: Industry. Culture Value Innovation. Shenyang: China Photographic Publishing House, p. 45, 81 >>>

Scheit-Koppitz, S., 2016. Genius Loci Der Geist des Ortes- Zwei Siegener im Zarenland. Durchblick, 1/2016, p. 60. >>>

Verein zur Veranstaltung von Kunstausstellungen, 2016. DIE GROSSE Kunstaustellung NRW Düsseldorf 2016. Verein zur Veranstaltung von Kunstausstellungen e.V., pp. 148-149. >>>

Berkovic, A., 2015.Genius Loci. Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Core Program Catalogue 2015, pp. 22-23. >>>

Pingyao Festival, 2014. Thomas Kellner. In: Life of Photography, World of Dreams. Pingyao: China Photographic Publishing House, p. 169. >>>

Kellner, T. 2014. Thomas Kellner. In: Bauwerke. Räume für den Augenblick und die Ewigkeit. Blauflug Verlag. pp.  92, 93   >>>

Ural Airlines magazine UAM, 01/2014 pp.68-71   >>>

Rosenzveig, M. & Morris, J. & Schwartz, A., 2014. Head on. Bondi Beach: Head on Foundation.   >>>

Casper, J., 2014. Thomas Kellner, genius loci. Paris:   >>>

Frisova, E., 2014. Around the World. Thomas Kellner, Germany. In: Frisova, E.(ed). PhotoVisa. Krasnodar: PhotoVisa concept. pp. 114-177.   >>>

critical mass competition

thank you to the jurors of the cristical mass competition 2015 for their valuable comments:


This is blowing my mind. It's really good!

Nice! Are you familiar with David Hockney's polaroids? Good luck! - S.Bohnacker


Interesting technique.


More information about technique used and why selected would be desirable. Some nice compositions (second to the last a bit cluttered) and I enjoyed overall.


These photographs, which call to my mind the work of Chuck Close and reference the beautiful artisanal mosaic work found in many cultures, in particular, Russia.


They are at once careful architectural studies and whimsical impressions.
I'd like to know more about the technique. This could be addressed more fully in your statement.

“Genius Loci”  is so unique and  different. Documentary but abstract of a German CIty (Siegen) and two Russian Cities (Yekaterinburg and Perm) Like the Bernd and Hilda Becker Dusseldorf School have been thrown from their deadpan style to a new vision through a prism fracturing ones view that drags the viewer in. -- Geoffrey Koslov


Interesting body of work. I like the treatment of the subject


Technical tour de force. Images are aesthetically pleasing as well as storytelling.


Interesting historically and a unique manner of creating the images.


An interesting connection in the history of industrial architecture! Thank you very much for having installation shots (I was curious how large these were on the wall) on your website and the video explaining the project further. Very helpful! Thank you for submitting your great project to Critical Mass this year. Laura Moya, Photolucida


Visually very powerful, but I'd like to hear more about what you feel the technical process you've chosen adds to what you intend to communicate. Is it solely a visual exercise using your technique and the area you choose to examine or is there something more?

Thomas, always a pleasure to view your work. Best of luck! Madeline Yale Preston


Inventive and unusual. This really frames your subject in a new way. The narrative you tell sets the scene nicely. For me, the strongest images are the ones that go beyond simple, straightforward architectural shots (buildings shot from the front, for example). I appreciate the images with more nuance in composition/design. This is worth continued exploration! Thank you for sharing it with us. -Laura Valenti

thank you for cooperation