The 2011-2012 season at The Gallery Apart opens with the second solo show that the gallery has dedicated to Astrid Nippoldt, an artist from Berlin who is among the most present of her generation in German museums. For this occasion, Astrid Nippoldt will offer a preview of her series “Patterns of Paradise” which will be hosted in its entirety in an important solo show at the Kunstraum of Munich during the months of October and November.
The project, which Astrid Nippoldt has worked on for months, focuses on the story of Cape Coral, a city in Florida founded in 1957 and developed through an economic boom initiated by the explicit intent of offering the American urban middle class a place to realize every possible ambition in terms of quality of life. The population of Cape Coral grew very quickly and millions of Americans were attracted by slogans such as “It has been designed especially for people with modest means and opportunities to live a good life in the sunshine”; “It’s fun to live in a growth area”; “Where opportunity awaits you and dreams of a lifetime come true”; and “You don’t have to be a millionaire to live like one”. The apparently unstoppable development of Cape Coral and the dream that the city had represented suddenly disappeared in 2008 when the financial crisis, started by the housing market, gave way to a period of widespread decline, an abandonment of houses and a major drop in the local population.
This is the point where Astrid Nippoldt’s research begins, concentrating on the process of the rise and fall of a utopia. The artist’s intention is not to create a journalistic documentation, but rather a reflection of the atmospheres, ambiguities and internal frictions within a systemized utopia. In this way she brings to light the failures that emerge from the shiny surface of a paradise.
The project is laid out in several outlets and with different working methodologies: the research carried out before the artist visited Cape Coral made up of facts, stories and other elements of inspiration; a pseudo documentation video on the early years of Cape Coral edited from historical 8 and 16mm footage; an animated video using Googlemaps showing a flight over Cape Coral in which one hears the melancholic voice of a real estate agent obsessively repeating the descriptions of the houses and neighborhood; a video, shot at a typical bungalow of Cape Coral showing a car exiting and entering the garage repeatedly so the driver can retrieve the newspaper, recalls the prospects of the promised quality of life while highlighting the stupidity of the expectations of the all too convenient life; a series of photographs which dives into the microcosm of the stereotypical villas of Cape Coral, revealing their different layers and oscillating between what is displayed and what is veiled, between what is present and what is absent; sketches and drawings depicting the thoughts and notes of the artist; and a video capturing the moment of a man’s slip floating in a swimming pool.