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Blog: Inspiration Between the Lines

Delirious Cities at Aperture

For the 6th annual Aperture Summer Open, 23 photographers from 14 countries weighed in on the theme Delirious Cities. The global diversity of the work selected is delightfully refreshing and reflects an eclectic panel of judges, including Brendan Embser, managing editor of Aperture magazine; Matthew Leifheit, artist and editor of MATTE Magazine; Chiara Bardelli Nonino, photo editor, Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue; Azu Nwagbogu, director of African Artists’ Foundation and LagosPhoto; and Guadalupe Rosales, artist and founder of Veteranas & Rucas and Map Pointz.

Sara Abbaspour, Untitled, 2019; Courtesy of the artist, © Sara Abbaspour


As a whole, an elastic interpretation of the city delivers a variety of takes on the peculiarities, details and vastness of life in a metropolis. History, imagination, abstraction, photographs as material objects, Catholicism, colonialism, mourning, surveillance and archetypal settings of corporate life offer a range of urbane tangents of visual and intellectual exploration.

Noritaka Minami, FacadeI, 2011; Courtesy of the artist, © Noritaka Minami


Noritaka Minami, born in Japan and based in Chicago, presents a series of images that hone in on postwar urban design in Japan—in particular, an iconic building of the 1960s architectural “metabolism” movement. A response to the devastation of cities after WWII, Minami describes the building’s evolution from a progressive design to a retro-futuristic relic as a “reminder of a future that was never realized in society at large and exists as an architectural anachronism within the city.” The images of both the exterior of the building and interior living spaces offer a bird’s eye view of the materiality of daily life, as well as an eerie sense of depleted optimism.

Peacock & Cat, 2018; Courtesy of the artist, © Josh Schaedel


Comparable, yet unique, is the work of Josh Schaedel. In a series of quirky takes on bizarre unpolished sights in and around Los Angeles, he offers a counterpoint to the glamorized veneer of LA depicted in cinema and advertising. In one image, Schaedel focuses on the taped bumper of a car. The intimate cropping reveals a careful attempt to mask a fender bender. At the center of the image frame, the car’s repair work is on blast, white tape matching the white car with a swath of red tape inserted where a busted headlight would be. A portion of the black street fills the bottom third of the frame while the top third offers a bit of ironic glitz as Schaedel’s flash bounces off the white surface of the vehicle creating a twisted take on the Hollywood spotlight. Another image features a feral cat and a peacock lingering on a balcony with a smoggy view of Downtown. Clearly, dark humor is involved in these photos.

Leonard Suryajaya, Arisan, 2017; Courtesy of the artist, © Leonard Suryajaya


Overall, Delirious Cities offers exciting insight into the field of photography and the pleasures of the group show format when curated by more than one set of eyes. The exhibition also includes work by: Sara Abbaspour, Laura Barron, Rydel Cerezo, Alex Huanfa Cheng, Rose Marie Cromwell, Esther Hovers, Mateo Gómez García, Délio Jasse, Lilly Lulay, Alice Quaresma, Adam Pape, Carlo Rusca, Michele Sibiloni, Chanell Stone, Leonard Suryajaya, Dustin Thierry, Bryan Thomas, Sally Tosti, Shelli Weiler, Yana Wernicke  and Hal Wilsdon.

Delirious Cities is on view at Aperture Gallery through August 29, 2019.

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