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Dualism of city landscape depicted through double exposure

Dualism of city landscape depicted through double exposure

Posted December. 23, 2020 07:32,   

Updated December. 23, 2020 07:32


The Atelier Hermès located in southern Seoul, ran by the Hermès foundation, will hold a private exhibition of French artist Cyprien Gaillard. The rising artist based in Berlin has been using urban landscapes of various cities including Paris, Los Angeles, and Cancun. The exhibition will showcase 23 polaroid photos, two sculptures and two video works.  

Some of the polaroid photos, which are the main pieces of the exhibition, were taken in Los Angeles in early February. It was his last trip before travels were banned due to COVID-19. He adopted double exposure which layers two different exposures on a single image.  

“Everything but Spirits” layered an image of plants onto a beer fridge at a supermarket. No beer consumed in Los Angeles is brewed in southern California, and plants are also exotic species. It metaphorically shows the “rootless” landscape of a city.  

A video work “City of Gold and Mirrors” also adopts a similar theme. Its background is Cancun, a popular vacation spot and historic site in Mexico. It has traces of the Mayan empire from thousands of years ago, but hotels, nightclubs, golf courses, and highways were built onto the historic sites as the city was developed as a tourist site after the 1970s.  

The video shot with 16mm film shows a group of American tourists wearing bikinis and drinking strong liquors. They indulge in entertainment, ignoring the history and culture of the city.  

“The Lake Arches (2007),” a collection of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art that shows his friends playing in the water in summer, was filmed with a camcorder. Two young men enjoys the summer by an artificial lake and buildings in the outer suburbs of Paris. One of them jumps into the lake, but he comes out with a broken nose and a bloody face because the water is too shallow. The undirected video filmed casually points out the dualism of the urban landscape created as part of a new town project. The exhibition will be held until January 17.

Min Kim kimmin@donga.com