20.11.03 - 12.01.04
Claudio Hils | Dream City

The "photographs from Claudio Hils mark an extreme position in his interpretation of the cities Tokyo, Bangkok, Sao Paolo, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. In some sense we feel as if we are looking directly at our surroundings only to be later confronted with an artificial world of pictures, strange, but nevertheless a staged world already long part of our daily culture. Writing about pictures of cities leads only indirectly back to the place of the event. The city is the physical space of our activities. It is the scene of events, experiences, and observations. It is orientation and communication. On the way to the train station in the centre we follow the streets, walk along the pavement and react to passers-by. Their reactions to our actions seem natural, since we only rarely perceive that we are obvious obstacles for others for which we must make away. (...) A complex system of behaviour regulates our shared lives. Claudio Hils has photographed many large cities around the world and has brought back entire series of pictures. They are reports on people and the places in which they live - cities. (...) Claudio Hils decomposes cities into parts of fragments through his photographs, that, when reassembled in a series, cover aspect of cities. Moreover, the pictures created through photographic dismantling realise an aesthetic concept as elements of perception. His motives divert us from highlights and clichés that might be significant in our own vision of cities. They are situated in unexpexted places: in rubbish tips, industrial plants, branches of industry, construction sites, streets, bridges and in housing areas, in shopping centres or in parks, zoos and green spaces. Aspects of cities that are so uniform and so taken for granted that we ignore them and hardly expect to encounter them in a picture. It is the very ubiquitous nature of these objects that make them seem characteristic of a city and at the same time of the conditions required for its existence."

Manfred Schmalriede

from: Cities Without Borders (printed in the catalogue "Dream City. Of the Future of Urban Space", edited by Max Stemshorn, Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2001).