For »The Potemkin Village« (2015–2017) Gregor Sailer (b. 1980 in Schwaz, AT) went looking for mock architecture worldwide. The proverbial term refers to the legend in which Russian Field Marshall Grigory Aleksandrivich Potemkin presented to Empress Catherine the Great facades of the newly annexed villages in Crimea behind painted backdrops, in order to shed a better light on them.
In Russia Sailer found two Potemkin villages according to the classical concept, in which ruinous houses were hidden behind canvases with representative facades printed on them. But this body of work also shows less literal illusionistic architecture, such as different military training camps in the U.S., France, Great Britain and Germany, authentic replicas of European cities in China, and two vehicle test cities in Sweden.
There is an insubstantiality and feeling of oppression that emanates from these pictures, emphasized partly by the diffused light the photographer specifically chose to use for this series, and partly by the abandonment of the places. With these works Gregor Sailer alludes to the social, economical, and political interests that form the basis of these building projects.
Gregor Sailer’s works are in the following collections, amongst others: Albertina (Vienna), the German Architecture Museum (Frankfurt/Main), and Fotomuseum Winterthur. Recently his photographs have been exhibited at Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Pinakothek der Moderne (Munich), and Rencontres de la Photographie (Arles).
The exhibition is part of the European Month of Photography 2018.