Urban contours

Sprawling cities, with their clutter of obsolete objects and mishmash of buildings, are not always considered things of beauty. Impressive in their vibrancy they might be, but urbanism and consumerism go hand in hand to paint them in a rather more beast-like manner.

In Urban Origami, however, seven artists explore the overlooked and discarded beauty of the expanding city. The exhibition looks at its continuing allure and consequences, examining city living as urban areas continue to redevelop.

Running at the PM Gallery and Pitzhanger Manor, architect Sir John Soane’s house in Ealing, west London, the selection of work also ties in with the methods of Soane’s work – his use of recycled materials has influenced the curatorial choices, for example.

Using a disparate range of discarded items, including advertising material, fmcg packaging and lights, the artists imagine new city models in media such as animation, photography and film.

Leo Fitzmaurice works with ad flyers and supermarket packaging, while Jools Johnson forms cityscapes out of discarded computer parts, and Elisa Sighicelli’s work includes manipulated film of a light display in a Shanghai skyscraper, creating mesmerising abstract images.
Gaia Persico, who is also the show’s curator, is creating an installation of animated views from hotel-room windows in a mocked-up CCTV room, as well as an extended line drawing that fuses skylines from San Francisco to Sydney – a comment on blurring boundaries between cities, says Persico; no matter which city you’re in, the human experience is the same.

Urban Origami is on at PM Gallery and Pitzhanger Manor, Walpole Park, Mattock Lane, London W5 from 2 July to 29 August

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