Tuesday, 6 July 2010


5/07/10, Pompidou Centre, Paris

An exhibition devoted to dream cities: "an architecture of sensation, dream and entertainment that spread throughout the world over the 20th century." Starting with Dreamland at Coney Island and the Paris Exposition (with M Eiffel's erection), moving onto Salvador Dali's "Dream of Venus" pavilion for the New York World's Fair of 1939 (an excuse, decidedly risque for the time, to present lots of naked and semi-naked women) and then into a welter of fantasy cities.

It was best when it documented real places, like Las Vegas. There were Martin Parr's photographs of the place and a stunning film by Olivo Barbieri of Vegas by night and by day, shot from a helicopter with a fancy lense such that much of the field of vision appeared out of vision, like pictures of a model. And there was fascinating documentary material on theme parks in China where the world's landmarks ave been rebuilt in miniature replica.

But it all became tedious when it focussed on the frequently self-indulgent imaginary cities dreamt up by contemporary artists, even artists with as much going for them as Picasso.

I liked the clips from 42nd Street and The Truman Show.

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