The City - Becoming and Decaying


A major exhibition survey of award-winning contemporary German photography.

Aratoi – Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, Masterton is the only venue for the exhibition in New Zealand.

The City – Becoming and Decaying features almost 200 works by photographers from renowned German photo agency OSTKREUZ, who have turned their lenses to 22 cities around the globe – from Dubai to Detroit, Las Vegas to Minsk, Liverpool to Gaza – to explore the realities of living in urban environments now.
Every day almost 200,000 people around the world leave the countryside, lured by the opportunity of life in the city, but these images question whether the city is a place of progress or of social and environmental dysfunction. Cities are shown as places of utopian futurism, but also as sites of urban decay and cultural loss, descending into waste and chaos.
According to Curator Marcus Jauer:
“They have brought together images from around the world of the city’s growth and decay. They show how the city of Ordos, in China, is springing up in the middle of the steppes and how Pripyat, in Ukraine, is being taken over again by nature; how the city of Lagos, in Nigeria, is expanding uncontrollably in its tangled growth; how the city of Manila is clustering into slums, and how Detroit, in the United States, is decaying at its core; how Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, can barely keep up with its own growth, and how the city of Gaza, in Palestine, is being leveled to the ground; how the city of Las Vegas lives from appearance, Auroville from ideals, and Atlantis as myth.”

The OSTKREUZ Agency was founded in East Berlin in 1990 after the end of the GDR, following the example of Magnum, and The City was devised as a unique long term project to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The 18 members included Sibylle Bergemann, whose retrospective exhibition was displayed at Aratoi in October 2012.
The photographers of the exhibition The City range in age from mid-twenties to sixties, with the majority from Germany. The exhibition has been touring internationally since 2010 and is presented in partnership with the Goethe-Institut.

Aratoi – Wairarapa Museum of Art & History, Masterton, in partnership with the Goethe-Institut