Curated by Alexandra Stara
Strange Places: Urban Landscape Photography brings together 11 international contemporary artists who propose an alternative mapping of the globalized urban condition. Whether gazing at ambiguous thresholds on the edges of the city, or tracing liminal spaces in its centre, these photographs explore themes of place, identity, boundaries and the uneasy encounter between land and built environment. Uncertainty of location, scale, time of day and stance towards the implied drama of the image render the photographs resonant with possible interpretations, offering an ‘open’ space for the viewer’s projection and engagement. The images do not capture urban life as action, but meditate on the spaces where it unfolds. What arises from this observation of traces and aftermath is a poetic quality hinting at the potential beauty of the most unlikely places.
The ideas behind Strange Places are drawn from both photographic discourses and emerging ideas of alternative urbanism. In the realm of recent cultural and urban theory, scholars have argued for a broadening of our intellectual stance and range of media for engaging with the modern urban phenomenon. Simultaneously, a growing body of photographic land- and cityscapes has challenged established definitions and categories, in an attempt to represent the richness and ambiguity of our late modern notion of place. The artists represented in this show have been attracted to the blurred boundaries and surprising intersections of culture and nature, fact and fiction, private and public, to produce work that reveals complex modes of inhabitation, appropriation, alienation and destruction.