URBAN COLLAGES

Our Location: Why we chose the location(s) we did for Gabo's Female

I felt certain that the location that should be chosen to shoot this collection should be urban. The clear sense of structure and architectural concepts used in both Gabo’s work and hence the collection called for an architectural setting. The sense of a stripped down surface where functional elements are revealed, whether anatomical systems or artificial structures; needed to be referenced and expressed through the site chosen. Being located in Athens, I set about exploring the contemporary Athenian urban landscape for a location or series of locations that would be suitable. A growing trend that I have observed in recent years in Athens is that of street art. Being a city crammed with tall, concrete blocks, Athens has many ‘blank’ building surfaces, that in the past few years has attracted urban artists to paint buildings. This simply adds another dimension to a city already extremely rich in urban layers. I begun to see Athens as a city filled with ‘urban collages’. Unlike the designed collages of an artist or a designer, these collages are accidental or rather incidental, and manifest themselves in a city over the course of time, through every day urban use and change. An area in Athens which I felt exemplified these aspects well was Metaxourghio. A prime example of street art lies in Metaxourghio. Below one can see a recent urban transformation of this neighbourhood block. As well as painting the main wall, architectural features have been picked out in colour, creating a chromatic collage, where white and turquoise have been used. Previous layers revealing the buildings’ past use (such as signage) have been kept, so we see an urban story in front of us. I thought this location was exciting and had to be used. In nearby streets doorways and corregated walls were found which were partly broken, revealing structure, as well as ‘patching ups’ of broken parts, further continuing a collage on a building surface. I thought these locations were also fitting.

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