The theme of this year’s ‘Picture Ballot’ is architecture as a subject for art. It looks at the classic city view, which documents the appearance of a place but can also evolve into an object of memory and longing for the observer; and reveals how the construction of pictured architecture and mapped-out city designs becomes a playground for utopias and visions.
Over the centuries, artists have moved between these twin poles of naturalistic representation and pure fantasy to present various aspects of the architectural image, sometimes blurring the distinction between reality and vision. A prime example is Max Ernst, whose Surrealist work ‘La ville entière’ from 1935/36 forms the centrepiece of the exhibition curated by Manuela Reissmann. Evoking an architecture redolent of cultures long departed, Ernst depicts in this lifeless city a vision of the future, exuding a sense of gloom even as it is illuminated by a vast celestial body.
Among the more than 20 magnificent paintings, small veduti, monumental photographs and minimalist sculptures are works by Bernardo Bellotto, Francesco Guardi, Vincent van Gogh, Nicolas de Staël, Thomas Struth and many others.