Museum Exhibition Catalogues, Monographs, Artist's Projects, Curatorial Writings and Essays
In today’s city, sunlight is the last “great Other,” something beyond the cities, the only thing that penetrates the space from the outside and occasionally reminds us that there is something else out there besides streets, subways, and functional cells. This natural light is missing from Bialobrzeski’s photographs; the gray remains of daylight blend with neon lights, turning into an emotional dusk.... Although one sees a great deal of sky, there is not a star in sight. In his “Paradise” pictures, the city even lights the jungle—which was always the heart of darkness—making a completely illuminated biotope out of it, as if the trees were standing in an aquarium or were lit by neongreen
operating room lights. Alex Rühle from Paradise Now
With a keen eye and strong political instincts, photographer Peter Bialobrzeski (born 1961) has made photobooks about new Asian metropolises, wastelands on the outskirts of global cities and a Filipino squatters' camp.
During his travels through China, Peter Bialobrzeski (born 1961) became aware of the constructions known as “nail houses”--derelict houses earmarked for demolition, whose owners refused to vacate. In Nail Houses or the Destruction of Lower Shanghai, the artist gathers photographs of these isolated structures, often captured in the evening hours, when brightly lit windows convey a sense of the domestic comfort these homes provide for their owners, despite their condition. Bialobrzeski stands up for these stubborn homeowners, compelling the viewer to face uncomfortable questions and underscoring the right of every human being to a home and a feeling of security. Following the publication of Case Study Homes and Informal Arrangements, this striking volume completes the Habitat trilogy.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Peter Bialobrzeski, Peter Lindhorst.
In The Raw and the Cooked, Peter Bialobrzeski (born 1961) sets forth the most complete account of his vision of the Asian megacity. From the simplest shack to the tallest highrise, from vernacular buildings made from scavenged materials to corporate buildings made from steel, concrete and glass, Bialobrzeski records the demented proliferation as Asia’s cities reach higher into the sky and farther across the land. With nearly 130 color plates, The Raw and the Cooked collects a series of tableaux from 14 countries around the world, in which economic transformations are shown to have brought dizzying disparities between wealth and poverty. As with the era-defining series Neon Tigers and Lost in Transition, The Raw and the Cooked depicts these cities with a seductive glow that renders them eerie and unreal as expressions of progress.
An ironic take on the Case Study House Program--initiated in 1945 by Arts and Architecture magazine in an effort to develop low-priced single-family homes by architects such as Richard Neutra and Charles and Ray Eames--German photographer Peter Bialobrzeski's Case Study Homes was shot at the Baseco compound, a squatter camp near the Port of Manila, which is home to an estimated 70,000 people. As Bialobrzeski was considering the series--startling images of provisional structures fashioned from slats, cardboard, corrugated metal and other cast-off materials and refuse--Lehman Brothers Bank collapsed and the media declared a global economic crisis. These recent events lend resonance to Bialobrzeski's images, which recall the photographs of impoverished rural Americans commissioned by the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s. Conceived as a sketchbook for a larger project, the images evidence the human will to survive and a profound resourcefulness.
With a keen eye and strong political instincts, photographer Peter Bialobrzeski (born 1961) has made photobooks about new Asian metropolises, wastelands on the outskirts of global cities and a Filipino squatters' camp. His latest project, Informal Arrangements, opens a window onto the interiors of a South African slum. In 2009, Bialobrzeski shot in Kliptown, a poverty-stricken suburb of Soweto less than ten miles away from a glistening new soccer stadium built for the 2010 World Cup. The area's resonance as a symbol of the vast discrepancies of wealth and status that persist in present-day South Africa--representing, as the South African newspaper The Citizen put it, "the dashed hopes and broken dreams of so many"--is unmistakable, and Kliptown has a larger historical significance: it was here, in 1955, that members of the anti-apartheid movement drew up the Freedom Charter, a guiding document for the ANC that today forms a foundation of the South African constitution. The lives of the inhabitants of these informal settlements have scarcely improved in the past 50 years, yet the Kliptownians arrange their homes as comfortably as they can, given what is available to them. With 70 color prints, this book cements Bialobrzeski's reputation as a social documentarian of the highest order. "For me, the individual picture is not too important," he has said. "I am advocating photography as a cultural practice."
Published by Hatje Cantz. 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.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Michael Glasmeier.
In Heimat, his previous collection of photographs published by Hatje Cantz, German photographer Peter Bialobrzeski, born in 1961, gave us pictures of his homeland that showed it as it had never been seen before. Photo International deemed it “one of the most beautiful and significant photography books this year.” Even before that, Bialobrzeski’s critically acclaimed exploration of the Asian megacity phenomenon, Neon Tigers, had made him a common topic of debate on the international photography scene. Bialobrzeski’s gift is for the portrayal of epic sweep in urban vistas and of the energies that inhabit and galvanize them. In Lost in Transition the photographer applies his grand vision to the transformation of wasteland areas, many of which are located on the peripheries of cities. The photographs were taken in more than 28 cities (including Hamburg, Dubai, New York, Singapore, New Delhi and Kuala Lumpur) and 14 countries and trace the transition from old to new, from the familiar to the abstract, from the dilapidated to the renewed. These images are as seductive and sublime as nineteenth-century Romantic paintings, but their apparent beauty is deceptive. As in his earlier works, Bialobrzeski always tests and pushes at the limitations of the documentary image itself.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Essay by Ariel Hauptmeier. Preface by Peter Bialobrzeski.
Peter Bialobrzeski's fascinating and disturbing collection of photographs from the skyscraper landscapes of Asian megacities, Neon Tigers, enchanted many. It was selected as one of the best-designed German books of 2004 and awarded the German Photography Book Prize. After his return from Asia, Bialobrzeski spent more than two years traveling through his native Germany. Heimat, which is German for "homeland," is the result. For Germans, Heimat is a rather difficult term, embodying conflicting tendencies: destiny and coincidence, sentimental kitsch for pensioners and revisionists, and lost paradise or childhood trauma. In Bialobrzeski's own words, "Having a home means having roots, which is not the same as being rooted to the spot." And since he is more interested in creating images than in detailing the places from which they spring, Heimat is "not a book about Germany as homeland per se." Rather, it creates a fixed image of "a personalized bit of visual and cultural history that goes beyond Germany's dark past, its reunification, and the 'German disease.'" Bialobrzeski's haunting new photographs act as projection surfaces for modern humankind's yearning for home and for nature--an homage at once to German Romanticism and to the works of contemporary American color photographers.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Essays by Florian Hanig and Christof Ribbat.
Photographer Peter Bialobrzeski here merges the seven Asian cities of Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Jakarta, Singapor, and Shenzhen into a virtual megatropolis. The result is a view of a world that no longer seems real but appears instead as a series of dream-images from an eccentric director or computer game designer. References to reality evoke a sense of conflict in the viewer, as appreciation for the beauty of the absurd competes with recognition of an irreversible process of change in urban living space. Two different growth models are exposed: unscrupulous, uncontrolled expansion, as in Bangkok, and controlled, yet equally unscrupulous growth in a city like Shanghai. The pictures burst with conflicting signs and symbols, mostly indecipherable to the western viewer, a semiotic overkill held in check only by the picture frame.