Warped, fragmented and endlessly repeated. Responses to the urban experience have ranged from unbridled enthusiasm for these vibrant hubs of glittering prosperity to examinations of the psychological shadows of city living: alienation, anxiety, tension and fear.
The current age of global cities is marked by new geographies and social relations moulded by advancing technologies and economic systems.
How do contemporary artists respond to these conditions? Urban Reflections presents works by artists from across different generations and locations as they reflect literally and metaphorically on the theme of mirroring the city.
The development of industrialised modernity in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries brought a fascination with new technologies, speed and progress.
Population explosions resulted in new types of urban environments while advances in optics and chemistry gave birth to photography and film. Since then the lens and the city have been bound together in artists’ imaginations as they attempt to represent, comment upon and re-imagine their everyday environments through documentary, avant-garde experimental approaches, photomontage and film.
Urban Reflections presents five different artistic positions which reveal the range of contemporary responses to the city.
Rather than focusing upon Modernist visions of tightly controlled planning grids and utopian architecture, the exhibition presents work which explores the human imprint upon and experience of the urban landscape.
Drawing references from pop culture, urban studies, literature, and the documentary genre each artist seeks to explore a different facet of contemporary urban realities. A concern with the fragmentation of perception runs through the works: images are overlaid on top of one another, spaces and emotions are distorted. In these places there are no fixed horizon lines; boundaries between imagination and reality are blurred, everything reflects and nothing is truly transparent.
Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani (Germany), Dan Graham (USA), Sabine Hornig (Germany), Santu Mofokeng (South Africa), Rhona Warwick (Scotland)
Curated by Kirsten Lloyd and Christine Nippe
Running 'till 22nd March 2009
Stills Gallery, 23 Cockburn Street, Edinburgh EH1 1BP (map)
Urban Reflections is presented in partnership with Goethe Institut Glasgow and is supported by Habitat and Eastern