Laurence Bonvin
ON THE EDGES OF PARADISE

25.01 — 02.03.2008

As its name suggests, a gated community is an urban area that is surrounded by fences and gates; in other words, that is separated from the city and therefore has secured access. Living in such a place also leads to some degree of monitoring of each other’s neighbours. We could even call it a “self-controlled community”.

Vernissage: 24.01.2008

Finissage de l’exposition
et présentation du livre On the Edges of Paradise, edition fink, Zurich
samedi 1er mars 2008 à 16h

Thus, at least in the United States, there are provisions regarding how lawns and gardens should be cared for, the trimming and the number of trees, the colour of the windows and even the furniture that can be seen from the outside. Some regulations even make provisions for “maximum three dogs or four cats aged more than six weeks and weighing no more than 30 pounds in total”! What is true for animal is also true for humans: the time periods when residents can meet outside their homes, o [...]

Thus, at least in the United States, there are provisions regarding how lawns and gardens should be cared for, the trimming and the number of trees, the colour of the windows and even the furniture that can be seen from the outside. Some regulations even make provisions for “maximum three dogs or four cats aged more than six weeks and weighing no more than 30 pounds in total”! What is true for animal is also true for humans: the time periods when residents can meet outside their homes, or the maximum time their guests are allowed to stay are also provided for. Other regulations even authorise entering a house in order to “put an end to a guest’s stay”. Today, 10 million Americans live in “gated communities”.

Such new, security-based, lifestyles are structured according to a concept that revolves around the homogenisation of the city inhabitants. Its first selection criterion is obviously (high) revenues, although cultural – and even religious – customs are equally determining, as noted by Stéphane Degoutin. Out of concern with security, social mixity is banned and the other doesn’t exist at all. Gated communities add to the growing discrepancies between the rich and the poor, while also emphasising the lack of solidarity.

According to art critic Fatos Üstek, the first gated communities in Istanbul h3 back to the 1970’s, and were specially built for army officers and their families during the military rule. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, and following massive immigration, not only from Anatolia or Kurdistan, but also from the Middle East, the population in Istanbul has reached 16 million. The first American-style housing project Kemer Country was built in 1995, borrowing from colonial style, elements borrowed from the architecture of Dallas-style TV series, as well as from vernacular architecture.

Laurence Bonvin’s photographs are in line with the “documentary style” established by the likes of Robert Adams and Lewis Baltz. They were shot between 2005 and 2006, and acknowledge in a fragmented way a clinical world that is visually standardised and deprived of genuineness. The exhibition is made up of about 30 prints, including a few panoramic views that help setting the various gated communities within the context of the outskirts of Istanbul. The artist emphasises the artificial aspect of the buildings, their average-TV-film-set side, scattered with a few people looking like film extras. “On the Edges of Paradise” is a consistent follow-up to her previous work, such as her first series that presented the “no man’s lands” in the outskirts of Geneva. Once again, Laurence Bonvin relentlessly explores urban and suburban life.


Sponsors

With the generous support of the following partner(s)

Artist file

Laurence Bonvin * 1967 in Sierre, lives in Berlin et Genève

Thus, at least in the United States, there are provisions regarding how lawns and gardens should be cared for, the trimming and the number of trees, the colour of the windows and even the furniture that can be seen from the outside. Some regulations even make provisions for “maximum three dogs or four cats aged more than six weeks and weighing no more than 30 pounds in total”! What is true for animal is also true for humans: the time periods when residents can meet outside their homes, o [...]

Thus, at least in the United States, there are provisions regarding how lawns and gardens should be cared for, the trimming and the number of trees, the colour of the windows and even the furniture that can be seen from the outside. Some regulations even make provisions for “maximum three dogs or four cats aged more than six weeks and weighing no more than 30 pounds in total”! What is true for animal is also true for humans: the time periods when residents can meet outside their homes, or the maximum time their guests are allowed to stay are also provided for. Other regulations even authorise entering a house in order to “put an end to a guest’s stay”. Today, 10 million Americans live in “gated communities”.

Such new, security-based, lifestyles are structured according to a concept that revolves around the homogenisation of the city inhabitants. Its first selection criterion is obviously (high) revenues, although cultural – and even religious – customs are equally determining, as noted by Stéphane Degoutin. Out of concern with security, social mixity is banned and the other doesn’t exist at all. Gated communities add to the growing discrepancies between the rich and the poor, while also emphasising the lack of solidarity.

According to art critic Fatos Üstek, the first gated communities in Istanbul h3 back to the 1970’s, and were specially built for army officers and their families during the military rule. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, and following massive immigration, not only from Anatolia or Kurdistan, but also from the Middle East, the population in Istanbul has reached 16 million. The first American-style housing project Kemer Country was built in 1995, borrowing from colonial style, elements borrowed from the architecture of Dallas-style TV series, as well as from vernacular architecture.

Laurence Bonvin’s photographs are in line with the “documentary style” established by the likes of Robert Adams and Lewis Baltz. They were shot between 2005 and 2006, and acknowledge in a fragmented way a clinical world that is visually standardised and deprived of genuineness. The exhibition is made up of about 30 prints, including a few panoramic views that help setting the various gated communities within the context of the outskirts of Istanbul. The artist emphasises the artificial aspect of the buildings, their average-TV-film-set side, scattered with a few people looking like film extras. “On the Edges of Paradise” is a consistent follow-up to her previous work, such as her first series that presented the “no man’s lands” in the outskirts of Geneva. Once again, Laurence Bonvin relentlessly explores urban and suburban life.


Exhibition view

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