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Christoph Gielen, Arcadia

Daniel Cooney Fine Art
511 West 25th Street, Suite 506, 212-255-8158
November 20, 2008 - January 31, 2009
Reception: Monday, October 20, 6 - 8 PM
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Daniel Cooney Fine Art is very proud to announce Arcadia, a selection of large- scale color images of urban sprawl in the USA, Asia and Germany by Christoph Gielen.

The housing developments that Gielen typically photographs lack socioeconomic diversity, and the preservation of open space. What they do feature are striking similarities among their populations as well as in their design: entire neighborhoods comprised of one building style in one palette, inhabited by residents of the same ethnic makeup and economic strata. The combined effects can produce a jarring sense of isolation amidst such structural density.

Gielen shows us the full extent of this dramatic transformation of our built environment by providing us with rare aerial perspectives of sprawl-afflicted regions throughout the USA, Asia, and Germany. Gielen’s images render the newly-urbanized landscapes as a series of symmetrical patterns of intersected roads, houses, and highways.

The topography depicted in his images often appears reminiscent of the geometric shapes found in Cubist paintings. But despite the veracity of his camera, Gielen’s landscapes look wholly unnatural—insinuating less truth than their painted counterparts. Instead of simply portraying the sprawl of contiguous development, Gielen’s images convert their suburbia into an aberrant territory of shapes and mass.

Under Gielen’s gaze, suburban growth once the preeminent symbol of prosperity in America and abroad, is reborn as a foreboding prediction of environmental and economic destruction. The current dissolution of the American housing market and impending foreclosure of millions of homes like the ones found in Gielen’s images provide an even more poignant framework to his photographs. Gielen acts with foresight, revealing a true and disturbing essence of what was once a benign and comforting notion of community and growth.
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