Peter Bialobrzeski: Paradise Now
Preface by Peter Bialobrzeski. Text by Alex Rühle.
Peter Bialobrzeski's photo-chronicles of the new Asian city have given us defining images of the tiger economy as a semi-toxic miasma of luminous capital. His images epitomize Marx's famous observation on rampant capitalism, "Everything that is solid melts into air." Vicki Goldberg characterized his work in The New York Times as "a vision of Oz beset by a population explosion and invaded by real estate developers who have tripped out on sorbet." Each of Bialobrzeski's publications (XXX Holy, Neon Tigers, Heimat, Lost in Transition) has been critically acclaimed, in the art press and beyond, for Bialobrzeski is not only a superb urban documenter, but also a photographer who thinks in book format: "For me, the individual picture is not too important. I am interested in doing books. I am advocating photography as a cultural practice, not so much as fine art." Paradise Now finds the photographer hunting for remnants of nature on the periphery of Asian cities, under the artificial suns of sodium lamps, automobile headlights and illuminated skyscrapers. Taken between October 2007 and March 2008 in Hanoi, Jakarta, Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, these images celebrate surviving outcrops of greenery as tokens of hope, even as they are threatened and encroached upon by urban expansion and its attendant halo of ominous light.
Peter Bialobrzeski (born 1961) is a German photographer. In 2002 he was appointed Professor of Photography at the University of the Arts in Bremen. As a critic, he writes regularly for Photo News and Freelens.