Sometimes more is actually more, which could be one way to sum up Filip Dujardin’s “(dis)location” recently on view at Highlight Gallery. Whether it’s the bloated, over built fortress’ found in images like “Guimarães 001 (2012),” or the sea of rooftops choking the city scape of “Guimarães 007 (2012),” Dujardin is pointing out one of the obvious reality of a world populated by 7 billion people and counting, open space will be getting more rare, and what is left over hardly being ideal for human habitation. Never before has this planet been so man made, the architectural landscape outpacing nature at a rapid rate.
Dujardin uses a process of photo montage to assemble images sourced from his own photography, often focusing on a real world place. In this case the French and Portuguese cities of Deauville and Guimarães, which he transforms into science-fiction architectural renderings. Dujardin is egalitarian in his architectural references, pulling from images of the classical and monumental as much as the poor and shabby. Both are treated with similar fascination as the teetering shanty town built up to a freeway overpass. “Guimarães 008 (2012)” looks no more ridiculous than, and almost as structurally sound as, the palatial “D’Ville 007 (2012)”.
The photographs, by their nature, seem to tell us something absolute, though the process of photo manipulation always seems to leave something more to tell. No matter how skilled the technique, the human brain is still advanced beyond technology at spotting the artificial and ultimately reminding the viewer they are looking at something that isn’t real. Like most great fantasy, the images are compelling because they tell us something about reality, though nothing is stated so explicitly as to leave no room for imagination.
For more information please visit Highlight Gallery.
-Contributed by Kathryn McKinney