Sunday, 28 June 2009

[206] Lillian Wilkie, Dresden I-IX

Lillian Wilkie, an old friend of mine, has just finished her degree in Photographic Arts at the University of Westminster. Her final project, a series of nine books titled Dresden I-IX, is quite an astounding piece of work.

Simply on a design level, it looks lovely, but her actual images are wonderful. Taking the German city as her inspiration and primary model, the photographs in the series rarely feature people, and Wilkie instead uses some innovative framing, and extraordinary scouting, to render Dresden's urban landscape as equally vivid, unreal and poetic.

Here's a quote from her project outline:

My current area of interest is the peripatetic mapping of the modern city and my major project focuses these ideas on the German city of Dresden, exploring the multiple layers of history and experience that can be found. The form of Dresden I - IX, a series of nine books, is based on Heinrich Schliemann’s quest to discover the mythical city of Troy. His amateur excavations at Hissarlik in the mid 19th century revealed nine layers of a mysterious city, exposing traces of destruction by fire and warfare.

I project this discovery on to the equally mysterious and historical city of Dresden, a city itself comprised of multiple layers, not least since it’s rebuilding in the wake of the 1945 Allied bombing which resulted in some of the most severe firestorms recorded in the history of warfare. Using perambulation as an investigative and artistic tool, each of the nine books is based on a walk across Dresden. In contrast to the Situationist tradition of dérive, these walks have fixed start and finish points; the primary element of the work is the journey, the process, and the ideas and stories collected in the hinterland between ‘here’ and ‘there’.

Dresden I-IX is a fascinating collection of photographs, excursions and musings, I strongly recommend you take a look. Check out Lillian's work at her personal website here, or read a recent interview with her at here.

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