Bas Princen "Refuge, Five Cities"

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poster for Bas Princen "Refuge, Five Cities"

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Refuge, Princen's most recent project, could be described as a photographic fiction of sorts. Although it is the result of extensive travels and research in five cities of the Middle East and Turkey - Istanbul, Beirut, Amman, Cairo and Dubai - it could just as easily pass as the pictorial record of a drive through a single, imaginary city: a city without a center, populated by extraordinary and at times implausible architectural artifacts; an urban laboratory whose physical traits are defined by migratory flows, spatial transformation and geopolitical flux on a continental scale.

An architect by training, Princen has for many years used photography as a tool to observe, record and interpret the contemporary landscape. His photographs - themselves unmanipulated representations of reality - invite the viewer to construct an imaginary landscape that lies beyond the frame, outside the limits of the viewfinder.

Refuge is not, however, an exercise in abstraction. It is a documentation of the spatial products of refuge, ranging from migrant worker camps to gated satellite cities in the desert or the frequent proximity between abject poverty and extreme wealth, that at the same time sidesteps the cliches and the iconic emblems of segregation and seclusion. Starting from its peripheries, Princen's photographs conduct the viewer through a cityscape that is both familiar and remote, ominous and beautiful.

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of: The Mondriaan Foundation, IABR 2009 (International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam) and the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New York.

This exhibition is part of a project coordinated by DEPO Istanbul and commissioned and produced as part of the collaborative research platform "diwan," initiated and curated by Philipp Misselwitz and Can Altay.



from May 12, 2010 to June 26, 2010

Opening Reception on 2010-05-11 from 19:00


Bas Princen

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