Aglaia KonradAustria - 1960
06 Nov - 21 Dec 2013
Aglaia Konrad lives and works in Brussels. She attended the Jan van Eyck Akademie of Maastricht from 1990 to 1992, where she later became a teacher. She participated to numerous group shows – the Kassel Documenta X (1997), Global Cities at the Tate Modern in London (2007) or Manifesta9 in Genk (2012) – and also presented her work solo in Belgium, Germany or the USA. Her work was awarded by the Otto Mauer Preis in 1997, the Camera Austria Prize of the City of Graz (Austria) in 2003 or the ICP Infinity Award (New-York) for the book “Desert Cities” published by JRP Ringier in 2009.
Quai1 is dedicated to photographers who participated to the Vevey International Photography Award. The last exhibition of the year is always devoted to one of the winner of this prize. After Paolo Nozolino, Bogdan Konopka and Wolfgang Stahr, Aglaia Konrad will present the series with which she won this unique creation grant in 2004.
In 1960, less than 40% of the Egyptian population is urban. Today, more than 80% of the inhabitants of this country live in the cities, amongst them one out of three in Cairo. To solve the housing crisis, huge areas were hastily constructed on the edge of the metropolis. “Dreamland”, “Utopia” or “Beverly Hills”, their fancy names contrasts with the reality: mineral, disembodied and ghostly, they seem to be coming out from the desert itself.
Konrad’s representation of these areas emphasizes their banality and lack of differentiation. “Non-places” par excellence, according to the definition of Marc Augé, they highlight the absurdity of this attempt to modernize Egypt that started at the end of the 20th century. The human dimension of these constructions – yet made to be inhabited – is virtually absent. The way the artist processes these images further accentuates this aspect: she not only takes pictures; she reproduces, cuts and even photocopies them. This potentially infinite reproduction process points out the interchangeability and the standardized nature of those cityscapes. Desert Cities addresses the issue of social-geographical and social-political changes brought by these new environments and explores areas as vast as the visual arts, photography, urban planning, architecture and urban sociology.
In 2004, Aglaia Konrad won the 4th Vevey International Photography Award organized by the Images Festival with the project “Desert Cities.”