Francis Alÿs, Sarah Beddington, James Casebere, Thomas Demand, Greg Girard, Gregor Graf, Noel Jabbour, Ferit Kuyas, Edgar Martins, Gaia Persico, Peter Piller, Sara Ramo, Rachel Whiteread, Michael Wolf, Cino Zucchi Architetti
Combining photography, film and installation, The near and the elsewhere explores the current global downturn – observing the constant upheaval within developing cities and the shrinking personal space available to their inhabitants.
The exhibition shows the physical growth and loss of urban architecture in cities across the world. It presents breathtaking views of organic sprawling metropolises, but also examines previously populated spaces now empty in the wake of the housing crash.
Documentary photography by Gregor Graf and Noel Jabbour records projects gone awry amid a culture of wastage and excess, leaving commercial buildings deserted and homes half-constructed. Works from Edgar Martin’s series ‘This is not a House’ show abandonment in the face of economic difficulty, as the ruins left behind reflect a wider global crisis.
At the heart of the exhibition are Greg Girard’s haunting and timely images of Shanghai – its transformation seen as a visible wave of neon development, sweeping across the land. James Casebere, working with constructed photography, pushes the idea of the metropolis to a cinematic level, questioning notions of utopia. Rachel Whiteread’s print of an installation of dolls’ houses uncovers the unreachable ideal of the perfect home. Contemporary dwellings are also re-interpreted via photographic images of city models by Thomas Demand, who brings to the fore the very personal aspect of being displaced.
Against the overarching theme, the exhibition also offers hope. Throughout these records of mass development, on closer inspection we find evidence of a stand against the greater economic forces. Individuals find private corners of refuge, as decrepit interiors are made homely by the sheer willpower of their inhabitants, engaged in battle to reassert the rights of the human being.