Stephanie Roland | Ideal city

Roland’s Ideal city is a strange and beautiful series of images that deliberately and knowingly blends science with fiction. There are echoes of the great 18th century conceptual architect Louis Boullée in the imaginary, impossible structures that seem to outstrip their contexts, and a highly developed, almost cinematic sense of suggested narrative between the different images in the series as a whole. Technically sophisticated and working with (rather than against) the potential of digital technology, Roland’s work seems to have found precisely the right visual language for her subject, downplaying, rather than overworking the otherworldly aesthetic effects. it is quietly convincing and therefore very effective as a photographic vision of the future. Simon Baker, Photography senior curator, Tate Modern, London Director, Maison Européenne de la photographie, Paris

Intellectual and physical incarnation of Utopia, the ideal city is an urban design to architectural and human perfection. It aspires to build and to live in harmony a unique social organization based on certain moral and political precepts. If many ideal cities are remained at the stage of dreams in the minds of their creators, though some have been completed in the facts. It is, paradoxally, an ideal achievement in the sense that, unlike the spontaneous cities, which develop gradually as needed depending on many decisions, so organically and sometimes anarchic, the ideal city is conceptually developed before being physically built, and its foundation is the result of a unified intellectual will.

In my sense that paradox can also be a metaphor for the mental construction of a picture as well as the artistic choices that that construction involves. My works blurs the boundaries between reality and fiction, The term Ideal city also deals with utopia, distopia and anticipation. I’m interested in how the representation of Future can reveal us a lot about our Present. Diverse science fiction topics bring to light actual existencial issues: the character searching to escape from a maze or to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, the representation of our civilisation has an antique, the observation of the stars or other galaxies.

I begin Ideal City in 2013 and I still work on it simultaneously with my other projects. It’s a ongoing project with a lot of material, the modular scenography evolves with each show, including new pictures, following new exhibitions ideas and in-situ integrations. I would be happy to create a specific installation for Malmö Fotobiennal.

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