This work, one of Mies van der Rohe's earliest photomontages, seamlessly embeds his proposal for a national monument to the German statesman Otto von Bismarck (1815–1898) in a photograph of the Rhine landscape. Using the picture of the site supplied for the 1910 competition, Mies created a "realistic" architectural scene through sophisticated photographic manipulation. Mies’' competition model was carefully photographed from below to match the perspective of the site image. In the resulting photomontage, the monument appears wedged into the hillside; its neoclassical colonnade and massive podium, overgrown with foliage, suggest that the buildings existence is not hypothetical, but rather fact. The image, with its persuasive realism, is a precursor to contemporary rendering practices that merge fiction and reality.
Gallery label from Cut 'n' Paste: From Architectural Assemblage to Collage City, July 10–December 1, 2013.