November 26, 2010
by Canadian Architect
Wastelands refers to abandoned architecture and spaces which, for Dubowitz, reveal as much about their past and present inhabitants as they do the psyche of contemporary societies. Having travelled to a number of cities worldwide, Dubowitz has noted, “It seems that a portion of every city is always a wasteland.” Wastelands that Dubowitz has visited include: Ellis Island, NY; San Gimignano, Italy; Ancoats, England; and Havana, Cuba, among others.
According to Dubowitz, “The series of artworks that comprise Wastelands dwells on the presence of absence in these places. Curiously, they are never properly understood as an ongoing and permanent aspect of the city, rather they are widely seen as something passing, ephemeral; a place being wasted that needs to be put back into use, an aberration that needs to be cleaned up in order to restore the city. This perception that wastelands are ephemeral and temporary can be true of individual sites, but paradoxically not at all representative of the overall picture of wastelands across a city. All cities have a proportion of abandoned area at any one time,
the amount fluctuates, but it is a permanent and ongoing condition of any place at whatever scale.
UK-based Dan Dubowitz has been investigating wastelands for 17 years, as both an artist and architect. Trained in architecture at Sheffield University and after working for Peter Eisenman in New York in 1992-93, he began to develop his practice of using photography in parallel to architectural work. From 1996-2002 Dan co-directed the Heisenberg project in Glasgow, UK, and taught at architecture and fine art faculties at universities in the UK. In 2003, Dubowitz established Civic Works to concentrate on photography and “cultural master planning.” Since then, he has developed cultural master plans for Glasgow, Sunderland, Newcastle, Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent in the UK. Dubowitz’s photography has been published in Frieze, The New York Times, Art and Architecture Journal and ArtReview, among others.
This exhibition runs from December 4-18, 2010 at the Bau-Xi Gallery in Toronto, located at 324 Dundas Street West. For more information, please visit www.bau-xi.com.