»The Potemkin Village«
For “The Potemkin Village” (2015–2017), Gregor Sailer (born 1980 in Schwaz, AT) went looking for mock architecture worldwide. The proverbial term refers to the legend that Russian Field Marshall Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin supposedly presented the newly annexed villages in Crimea behind painted backdrops to Empress Catherine the Great. In Russia, Sailer found two Potemkin villages that corresponded to the classical concept, with dilapidated houses hidden behind canvases with representative facades printed onto them. But this body of work also shows less literally illusionistic architecture, for instance various military training camps in the U.S., France, Great Britain, and Germany, authentic replicas of European cities in China, as well as two vehicle test sites in Sweden. The irreality of these structures is further emphasized by the diffuse light the photographer specifically chose to use for this series. With these works, Sailer addresses the social, economical, and political interests that are at the basis of these building projects.