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Comments Posted 07.22.10 | PERMALINK | PRINT

Mark Lamster

The Constructed Landscapes of Chris Berg


the-reservoir-2 The Reservoir, c. 2004

the-woods-2 The Woods, c. 2004

With digital imaging technology so advanced and widely accessible, the photo-collage has reached a level of almost baroque absurdity; anything can be grafted onto anything else, seamlessly, by just about anyone.

The old-school images of Chris Berg make a nice counterpoint to this digital profusion. From a distance, they appear to be single exposures. Up close, one can see the painstaking technique with which they have been assembled: a series of snapshot photographs sanded down on the back, grafted together with great precision and then varnished to a sheen. [The digital versions shown here accentuate seams within the images that are, to the naked eye, almost imperceptible unless one looks closely].

Berg is an architect — this is something of an architectural technique — and his subjects show an interest in constructing artificial or speculative landscapes cobbled together from the built world. Repetition is a theme, as are infrastructural ruins and generic building types. The fanciful horizon city of The Reservoir [top], with its gang of towers borrowed from Philip Johnson's NY State Pavilion, is a particular favorite. A few more after the jump.

storage-2 Storage, c. 2004drying-houses-2
Drying Houses, c. 2004
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Lamster is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News and a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington School of Architecture. A contributing editor to Architectural Review, he is currently at work on his third book, a biography of the late architect Philip Johnson. Follow: @marklamster.
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