The "ideal city" has been an integral aspect of societal utopias since the period of early modernism. During the 20th century, however, the concept was discredited because of its totalitarian or authoritarian character. In light of the current discussions regarding the development of urban spaces, this exhibition project will re-examine the topic of ideal cities. A group of international artists has been commissioned to produce works of art based on the historical plans and the current urban situation of two cities which were designed on a drawing board - Potsdam, Germany and Zamosc, Poland.
An excerpt from the project's press release:
On June 18, forty-one international artists will address the concept of the "ideal city" and its counterpart, the "invisible city". The Polish city of Zamosc, an extraordinary architectural pearl of the late Renaissance, is situated close to the Ukrainian border between Lublin and Lvov (Lemberg). Artists from twelve European and six non-European nations will display their works in this small city which has been spared the destruction of war since its founding at the end of the 16th century. All of the pieces will examine the traces of this once multicultural society with its orthodox churches, cathedral, synagogue and the so-called Armenian Houses on the Great Market Square. Very few ideal cities have ever been built or even partially built. The planned cities that were based on societal utopias rarely left the drawing boards. Conceived by the Crown Chancellor Jan Zamoyski, Zamosc was built between 1580 and 1605 under the supervision of the Italian master builder Bernardo Morando. UNESCO added Zamosc to its World Cultural Heritage List in 1992, citing it as one of the few ideal cities ever built.
All the artists have incorporated the local architecture of public places, buildings, and hidden courtyards into their artworks. Lawrence Weiner (USA) has encircled the arcades of the Great Market Square with one of his word sculptures. Monika Sosnowska has constructed a fountain, while Miroslaw Balka recalls the deep wounds left behind by World War II. Daniela Brahm, Colin Ardley and Kai Schiemenz provide new definitions for squares and public places. Franka Hörnschemeyer's installation plays on the city's clearly defined layout. Jakob Kolding's poster project examines the functional aspect of city planning and Les Schliesser has established a museum for a fictitious architect born in Zamosc. Lucas Lenglet has designed and constructed a columbarium, a dovecote, in one of the city's courtyards, and Colin Ardley has built a pyramid on the Great Market Square. Craigie Horsfield, who photographed the city back in the 1970s, has created a sound installation for Zamosc. Sol LeWitt has placed his sculpture in front of the former Jewish synagogue, while David Tremlett's wall drawings are exhibited in the cartouches inside. In the adjacent side rooms of the synagogue, Katarzyna Jozefowicz and Pedro Cabrita Reis have generated an artistic dialogue with their structuralist works. At the Zamosc Museum of History, Tilman Wendland's documentation examines the ideal cities of modern times designed by Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer and Hansen. Jaroslaw Flicinski's large-format wall drawing livens up the former "Zamoyski Academy" which is now the city's high school. The Greek artist George Hadjimichalis has installed his "Workshop of Projects and Images in Crisis" in the gymnasium inside.
Artistic directors: Sabrina van der Ley, Markus Richter
Participating artists: Miroslaw Balka (PL), Pedro Cabrita Reis Balka(P), Le Corbusier (CH), Tacita Dean (GB), Jaroslaw Fliciñski (PL), Rula Halawani (IL), Matthias Müller, Daniel Roth, Melanie Smith (GB/MEX), Lawrence Welner (USA) and others
Venues and schedule:
Potsdam, 8 September - mid October 2006
Zamosc, 16 June - end of August 2006
European Art Projects GmbH