Age of Kitsch2019
Kitsch (n.)“Art, decorative objects, or design considered by many people to be ugly, without style, or false but enjoyed by other people, often because they are funny.” (Cambridge Dictionary)
Its use therefore necessarily involves a value judgment and the standard that conditions it. In any cases, whatever your taste, Kitsch leaves no one indifferent. In the past, periods have seen the emergence of new styles, sometimes considered as eccentric or Kitsch, like Rococo. But what about Kitsch in contemporary architecture? How has the use of 'Kitsch design' evolved in the construction of modern urban spaces? Kitsch is at the opposite of the Modern Movement, according to which 'form follows function': form moves away from the utilitarian dimension to become decorative, to transmit emotions. For some people, Kitsch is comfortable, it makes them happy and reenchants their daily lives. Nowadays, Kitsch is used to create imaginary worlds, calling for a journey inside the journey. The architecture is staged like a 'living museum', producing an exotic attraction where (mainly) tourists can escape from everyday reality by offering a new experience of a bygone past. Used out of local context and time, Kitsch artificially inflates the comfort of decoration into a uniquely fake aesthetic statement. In the modern urban spaces, Kitsch is made up of elements put together, belonging to unrelated universes and periods, decontextualized from local history: Orientalism, Ancient Greece, Egypt of the Pharaohs, the Baroque period and various mythologies. Kitsch is inauthentic, in the material sense (fake wood, fake marble, fake gold...) but also in the figurative sense (stereotypes, déjà vu). Overload, saturation, excess, grandiloquence, 'architectural show' are some of the words associated with Kitsch, which create a break with the vocabulary specific to architecture, in favor of that of the entertainment industry. From Turkey to the United Arab Emirates, this photographic series documents the use of kitsch in modern urban space. The Turkish Riviera, the Turkey's Mediterranean coast, with Antalya as its emblematic capital, is a major tourist destination in Turkey, with a hotel capacity exceeding Spain, Greece or Egypt. The clientele, mostly Russian, is welcomed in impressive hotels, shopping centres and leisure areas with architectural productions using colonnades, Greek polystyrene statues, fake gildings, copies of places or emblematic periods in the history of architecture. In the United Arab Emirates, gigantic shopping malls are used as real theme parks to make people dream, travel, all in one and only space mixing universes from all over the world. The urban fringes are dotted with large customized villas that take up a varied catalogue of styles: Greek cornices and colonnades, opulent gildings... all mixed with modern materials and architecture, creating a hybrid style.