Rotis as a place, Rotis the typeface – both play the central role in the book by photographer Timm Rautert (born 1941). “If he didn’t like something, he bit his lower lip,” Rautert tells us in a video accompanying his book, “that’s when it became a bit more dangerous. But I stayed firm.” Aicher, according to the photographer, appreciated “when someone didn’t fall over too easily.”

When Aicher lived and worked in Rotis, Rautert not only accompanied him on individual projects (such as the volume “Zugänge – Ausgänge”, published by FSB Edition, with texts by Aicher, Jürgen Becker and Wolfgang Pehnt, Cologne 1990), but also visited him again and again, photographing life and work in Aicher’s “autonomous republic”. Through his own composure, he overcame occasional rejections. Accompanying Rautert’s calm and clear photographs are texts by Dan Reynolds, who looks at the Rotis font family, and Oliver Kimpel, who looks at the historical Rotis, “a place from a different economic and political time: secluded yet privileged, in the deepest West Germany.” Rautert reports on specific features of his Aicher collaboration, such as in the book on the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. “two pictures,” Aicher once said in the FSB-Rautert book, “are an invitation to comparison, and where there is comparison, there is no devotion.”

Ute Eskildsen and Gerhard Steidl (eds.): otl aicher / rotis, Fotos von Timm Rautert. ISBN 978-3-95829-875-0, Steidl Verlag, Göttingen, 2021
35 euros