City and Country


Stephen Hobbs, Mirage City #3, 1999/2000. Color Photograph, 67 cm x 100cm

Axis Gallery, New York
February 3 – March 27, 2004

Combining photographic genres, this exhibition explores the natural landscape and the metropolis as sites of memory, mutation, signification, and projection.

Stephen Hobbs’s captures skyscrapers as mirages that are as transient and unstable as the nature of the inner city and of Being itself. Jo Ractliffe’s Vlakplaas” is a bland landscape that belies its function as an execution ground and testifies to the silence of sites. Minnette Vári’s “videographs” present the “radiant city” as a precipice in which she performs as an exile in utopia.

Among the documentary photographers included, Brent Stirton captures performances in diametrically opposed cultural and physical settings. Jürgen Schadeberg and Brenton Maart examine black urban areas in South Africa, where both commerce and community contrast with Western evironments. Graeme Williams and Paul Weinberg evoke social tensions implicit in even relatively empty spaces.

Similarly, the landscape photography of Kevin James and Alain Proust continues the tradition of landscape as metaphor and as site of projection.