Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Overwhelmingly homogenous"

Dieuwertje Komen has just launched her brand new website, so I take this chance to introduce you to her excellent (mostly urban) landscape photography, where you'll have plenty of choice among the many series she presents. Whether it is personal or commissioned work, Komen's images raise many discreet and yet important questions about the spaces we live in.

Sometimes I wonder if the main outcome of the contemporary visual topography is having shown the differences between the various man-altered landscapes or instead reveal the dreadful uniformity that is shaping the majority of the urban settlements, and most of all, of the ideas behind them.

Dieuwertje Komen's work moves exactly along the line of this dilemma: "For the series Commonness I've portrayed the cities Bordeaux, Kosice, Mechelen, Plzen and Mons all European cities that aspire to the title of European Capital of Culture", she writes. "The resulting pictures display a similarity between the different cities, a discovery both surprising and unsettling since the cities compete for the title with distinctive assets. And yet, here they are shown to be overwhelmingly homogenous".

Homogeneity can be suffocating, but at least there is something graceful in Komen's vision, as she proved herself to be able to draw the greater picture of those urban dystopias, and yet somehow left space for imaginary escape routes, subversive plans, hope for something different.

All images taken from Commonness © Dieuwertje Komen

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