Boarded-up Houses In Europe today there are around 11 million empty and unoccupied homes, of which 610,000 are in England. Large scale vacancy in cities is often a sign of great upheaval within the urban space.
Focusing on typical Victorian working class terraced houses in post-industrial Liverpool and Manchester, the project highlights the sheer volume of long-term vacancies in the UK to create a critical reflection about the extensive amount of unoccupied homes in England as well as in Europe in relation to the social housing market. When before, these historical houses symbolized the collective past of a flourishing industry and a strong working class and community, nowadays in some former industrial cities many hundreds of houses in fairly good conditions stand abandoned and boarded-up awaiting demolition.
From an aesthetic point of view, boarded-up windows create a melancholic, mysterious, and sculptural atmosphere. Referring to Gaston Bachelard’s book ”The Poetics of Space” windows of houses are described as the souls of houses, when lit up at night, giving us access to their inner life, their history, and memories of past times. The images radiate an uncertainty in relation to their future, producing a sense of instability. The aims of the project are to create a conscious reflection of vacant houses and an awareness of the constant structural changes of our cities.
The “Flying Houses” are inspired by a poetic vision of old Paris, by Jules Vernes, Albert Robida, Moebius, Hayao Miyazaki, Albert Lamorisse, Wim Wenders, Federico Fellini, Marcel Carné, Jean Cocteau and a lot of others references. These buildings are also inspired by poor and cosmopolitan neighborhood of Paris where lives Laurent Chéhère. Through a tragic and melancholic report, they testify poetically and subtly of an alarming contemporary reality by revealing meanders and concerns of a class impoverished by the society, in particular the Gypsies and the immigrants. The author isolates these buildings of their urban context and releases them from the anonymity of the street to tell the life, the dreams and the hopes of these inhabitants.
Technically, it’s a photomontage. After a sketch, he photographs hundreds of elements : roof, windows, gutter, fireplace, characters, antennas, graffitiand sky, then assembles everything with a digital retouch software on his computer. In gallery, the images are shown in large format and let the curious observer to discover details and hiden references of these accurate reconstructions by proposing a double reading, one by far and one closely. The artist uses this distance to propose a different point of view and alert against preconceived ideas and prejudices. All the ingredients are there, the comedy, the drama, the poetry, the darkness, the onirism, the laughter and the tears… everything becomes entangled. The author gives some keys, but these flying houses remain open to the interpretation, it’s finally the observer who will make his own way.
Born in 1962 in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, Alexey Titarenko has been taking photographs for over thirty years, in four major cities: St. Petersburg, Venice, Havana, and New York. Alexey Titarenko: The City is a Novelat the Nailya Alexander Gallery brings together, for the first time, prints from every phase of Titarenko’s career, including rarely exhibited photomontages from the his first major series, Nomenclature of Signs; key photographs from his groundbreaking series City of Shadows; and never-before-seen work produced within the past year.
For Titarenko, the city not only shapes and influences each individual’s mindset and point of view; it is also a creative force, the architect of narratives in which each of us becomes his or her own distinct character. As an artist, his work is to bring to light these stories through his own lens, and to outline their symbolic meaning. As he writes in his essay City of Shadows, “Universal emotions perpetuated during the last century…constitute the main themes of my photographs, to the extent of transforming the most documentary among them into elements of a novel — not reportage, but a novel, whose central theme is the human soul.”
The successful series LEGO outside LEGOLAND urged me to continue my research focused on the objectivity of the photographic sign, thus undermining the tangible concreteness of the exterior world. I titled “City Playground” an ongoing ironic project where over-sized toys are placed in the city (till now the city of Rome) making surrealistic scenarios.
In this second chapter the Fisher-Price family farm plays the leading role: I received it when I was 3 and it was the first time that I touched a complete scaled “architecture”. The aged and heavy playworn iconic toy becomes a landmark to fill empty spaces or to highlight forgotten or shabby places making the people think about spontaneous transformation of the contemporary city, reinventing each time, as graffiti do, the urban space.
Brendan Pattengale (b. 1984) is an American photographer. Taking up the tradition of landscape photography to situate his musings, Pattengale probes photographic methods as well as the truth in color perception. His photographs are strikingly abstract, psychedelic in the way that they vividly depict valleys and vistas, yet they maintain a certain realism in the subject matter.
Utilizing an unorthodox set of tools to capture his chosen terrain—Pattengale travels to the far reaches of the world to find new sceneries—he calls into question the role of the camera as vicarious viewer relative to an image making process that involves other mechanical and non-mechanical agents. As was said by Goethe in his Theory of Colors, colors belong to the eye; Pattengale conveys this in his images, which are entirely true in their retelling of light and, therefore, vision, while they are also altered in their process prior to the instant of the photograph.
Joshua Smith is a miniaturist and former stencil artist based in Norwood, South Australia. With a career spanning 17 years he has showcased his work in London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Japan and all over Australia in over 100 exhibitions. Formerly a self taught stencil artist Josh refocused his career to establishing Espionage Gallery, an Art Gallery based in Adelaide, South Australia showcasing both emerging and well established local, interstate and international artists. For 4 years he showcased over 600 artists from over 20 countries.
In 2015 after the closure of Espionage Gallery Josh refocused back onto his own career this time as a self taught miniaturist. His miniature works primarily focus on the often overlooked aspects of the urban environment such as grime, rust, decay to discarded cigarettes and graffiti perfectly recreated in 1:20 scale miniatures.
With the series entitled “Traveling Landscapes”, vignettes of nature are encapsulated within steamer trunks and train cases aged through travel. Displaced elements indicative of natural landscapes are presented in partially opened cases, as to not fully expose the delicateness of what is contained within. Streams and rivers activate the scenes as they course through the landscapes contained within the cases. The illusion of life and growth, illuminated within, reflects the desire to capture a part of nature untouched by humans. Used as a mediation device between the lush pastoral scenes contained within and the harsh actuality of their physical surroundings, the trunks and cases elicit visions of travel, preciousness and possession.
Materials that are commonly defined as natural and artificial are combined in the creation of these works, isolating aspects that are indicative of the ‘natural’ (while sometimes are considered unnatural). The landscapes created are transformative in their illusion of a nature scene; they are contained in traveling cases to magnify the displacement of a seemingly natural landscape in an unusual framework. These pieces extenuate the desire for ‘untouched’ natural environments, and the claim and proprietorship that are placed on plots of land, which carries over to water rights.
A blog curated by Roberto Cruz Niemiec with the best of Architecture, Design and Art.