The End of the City
2013 - 2016
The End of the City is about dreams and turning them into reality. The project was carried out in a limited area; on the border of one of the largest Polish cities. In Poland, suburban space is an expression of freedom, since it was only after the fall of communism that Poles were given the right to do business, sell grounds and build houses. Tremendous economical growth let people benefit from liberal modernization and turn dreams into reality. Polish suburbia is shaped by a romantic vision of a good life and ambitions of those who left their cities.
XIX century Polish manor house is an archetype of a perfect abode
The project consists of photographs and interviews with inhabitants of the area, who were asked to describe how they had imagined living outside the city and what living there actually meant for them. From sentiment to ambition, the interviews expose various motivations, like in the words of one businessman: ‘I dreamt of a big, beautiful house, two brand new SUVs, a cleaning lady and holidays in hot climes once a year. This house was supposed to complement the image of a true achiever.’ As far as the actual living in the suburbs goes, while those who live there less than 4-5 years expound mostly on the advantages of country living, the majority of old settlers stress an array of inconveniences linked to commuting and reveal that they live in the middle of nowhere and spend their days in houses and cars.
Suburban space is neither rural nor urban in character, which is evident both from pedestrian's and satellite's view
The photographs were taken after the sunset and depict a transformation of the landscape. In his text about the project, Tomasz Ferenc writes, ‘In his wanderings to the city ends, Artur Urbański has made a great use of this exceptional time between dusk and nightfall. It has a great symbolic significance. Just like the suburbs are the “in-between” zone, twilight also signifies a passage of sorts; a shift in the form and essence of time and space. (...) This consequent move accounts for the fact that Urbański breaks the convention of a documentary, a matter-of-fact report on the state of things, and instead creates a visual parable. Particular realities and details no longer matter. What matters is a story of dreams, toil and trouble, but also of destruction, appropriation and loss. (…) Many of these pictures make us think of visual and rhetoric “landscapes after battle.” A ploughed-through soil; barely standing, crooked fences; celadon, disquieting glow. And sure enough, these places are witnessing a battle of sorts, constant fight for a new, better life.’
2016 - The End Of the City, Fotofestiwal, Łódź, Galeria FF
2014 - Celebrating Europe, Kaunas, Kauno Fotografijas Galerija
2015 - Celebrating Europe, Exhibition Catalogue