""White City – Black City"", 2018 – 2019
– 1000 poster in different motifs to take away on three different stacks
– wall text in german and hebrew language
Between around 1930 and 1950, in the still young city of Tel Aviv around four thousand buildings were erected along the guidelines of the Bauhaus and the International Style. Immigrants from Europe, most of all Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany, brought the style with them. The urban planning of the Scottish planner Patrick Geddes left room for their implementation, so that Tel Aviv today still has the most buildings in this style. Around one thousand buildings of the White City have been part of UNESCO’s world cultural heritage since 2003.
In her project, Sophia Kesting goes in search of these buildings. She photographed them several times in Tel Aviv, but did not limit herself only to the buildings that have been declared landmarks, which only make up a small part of the city’s modernist architecture. Taking the one thousand landmarked buildings as an inspiration, she creates instead a different, subjective landmark catalogue of buildings, including contemporary ones as well, that take up elements of the International Style. The approximately one thousand photographs show buildings from various parts of the city, from the center and from neighborhoods on the city’s periphery that are today shaped by migrants from Africa, just as the White City was once shaped by migrants from Europe in the mid-twentieth century.
Each photograph focuses on a single building. Details from urban life like parking cars and passersby provide a subtle framing of the motif without dominating the foreground. The buildings appear as solitary, embedded more in social contexts than in an urban environment. Kesting thus shifts the gaze from the overall whole of urban planning to a large number of individual buildings that together make up the city. The gaze expands beyond UNESCO’s strictly regulated landmark bureaucracy to the constant change and development of the architectural legacy in Tel Aviv.
Text by Stephanie Milling