artists & participants


press release

The city has long been a subject of investigation for the modern artist. After the Impressionists, art has been an eminently urban phenomenon. For over a century, cities have provided the most fertile ground for artists: as a table of social interchange, a source of inspiration, a marketplace and a haven. From the Futurists to Léger; from Duchamp’s Bachelor Machines to Ed Ruscha’s maps of Los Angeles; from the photographs by Weegee and Diane Arbus to those by Ara Güler, the urban context has been a territory for investigation, and the privileged vantage point from which to observe the sweeping changes that have affected us in the past 100 years.

The City Rises borrows its name from the seminal painting by Umberto Boccioni (1910) that glorifies the speed, the noise and the excitement of cities at the dawn of the 20th century.

The three artists presented in this exhibition offer the viewer a particular vision of urban life today, distant from the optimism of the Futurist vision, yet equally mesmerizing. Each one, by focusing on the repetition of apparently anodyne actions, lingering on an aesthetical analysis of labor, or confronting the viewer with a non-sentimental and politicized scrutiny of urban centres, presents us with a vision of the city and of the Zeitgeist that is as accurate as it is hyperbolic.

Zbig Rybczynski

Born in 1949 in Lodz, Zbig Rybczynsky graduated from the Cinema Academy of Lodz in 1972. In the early 1970s he joined the Polish Avant-garde group Warsztat Formy Filmowej. An activist for Solidarnosc, he was granted political asylum in Austria after the coup by General Jaruselski in 1981. In 1983, he won the Oscar for the best animation short with Tango (1980). During the 1990s he taught Experimental Cinema at the Academy of Cologne. In 2001, he moved to Los Angeles where he currently resides. He is the founder of the production company Zbig Vision.

Fikret Atay

Born in Batman in 1976 he received his degree in Fine Arts from Dicle University in Diyarbakir. He currently lives in Paris. Fikret Atay’s videos are characterized by a direct, unaffected style, similar to that of documentaries. Through a refined editing technique, the actions described have a tight rhythm, functional to the sense of political urgency and tension that is at the basis of Atay’s art.

Ali Kazma

Ali Kazma was born in 1971 in Istanbul, where lives and works. He received his MA from the New School of Social research in New York. His videos raise fundamental questions about the meaning and the significance of work versus labour within today’s economy. Since 2005, Kazma has been working on a series of videos, "Obstructions," that document human activities related to maintenance, repair, production and creation. He shoots single-handedly and unobtrusively, with natural light and without any assistants, so as not to disrupt the rhythm and the concentration of the activities he records. "Obtructions" is a modular work, meaning that the videos can be shown in different configurations, with the aim of creating different tensions and new possible readings of the parts and of the whole.

Curator: Paolo Colombo

only in german

The City Rises
Kurator: Paolo Colombo

Künstler: Zbig Rybczynski, Fikret Atay, Ali Kazma