“Yerevan 1996/1997” @ Hyperallergic
The images presented in Yerevan 1996/1997 (2019, MACK Books) are superimposed over a reproduction of an Armenian school workbook. The book replicates a photographic “sketchbook” made by the artist, Ursula Schulz-Dornburg, addressed to her daughter, Julia. As the title suggests, the images capture the environs, architecture, and inhabitants of Yerevan, Armenia’s capital and largest city. Throughout her career, Schulz-Dornburg has documented places off the beaten path, cultural centers in transition, and man-made spaces caught up in shifting geopolitics.
Because the workbook that contains these images of her walks through Yerevan — particularly the city’s “Bangladesh” district — was assembled for Julia, Schulz-Dornburg focused largely on structures and architectural details that she imagined would delight her daughter, who was studying architecture in Barcelona at the time. For fans of the unique hive-like aesthetic of Soviet-style high-rise architecture, Yerevan is like a box of visual chocolates — a series of discrete little treats tucked into the wrapping of the workbook. In addition to Yerevan’s concrete hive high-rises, there are detailed wrought iron works, beguiling sheet-metal structures that stand in forested areas, and even the occasional hand-painted billboard.
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