The concept of the “Potemkin Village” can be traced back to Prince Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin, a Russian field marshal and favorite of Empress Catherine the Great. Anxious to spare her the grim face of the recently annexed Crimea when she toured it in 1787, he allegedly ordered to create entire “villages” consisting of nothing more than gaily painted façades to be erected all along her route. Gregor Sailer documents the curious architectural phenomena by photographing the modern Potemkine villages: field exercise centers in the USA and Europe, European city replicas in China, urban vehicle testing tracks in Sweden and fakes whole streets in disguise when high-ranking political celebrities are visiting from abroad. Sailer’s images provide access to the world of fakes, copies, and artificial fronts. By exposing them to the eye of the beholder, he puts the value of these often absurd aberrations of today’s society to an acid test.
Exhibition curator: Joerg Bader
20 Rue du Cloître, 13200 Arles France
July 02, 2018 to September 23, 2018