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By Fabian Schroder

© Fabian Schroder


‘In Natura’ is showing absurd imitations of nature in an urban environment. These illusions of non existing realities are most often imitating far away places or times. Themed touristic attractions like the “Dubai Miracle Garden” transform barren wasteland into a flourishing foreign reality. Bizarre structures such as bushes in the shape of an oversized cat but also highly realistic replicas create an ironic and grotesque impression.

These places attract a tremendous audience and therefore themed architecture is commonly used by urban planers and investors all around the world. Shopping malls for example try to recreate a stroll outside with an artificial sky in perfect weather condition or imitate small Italian shopping streets. Attractions and architecture have to be more and more extreme though to gather a paying audience and maintain their revenue stream.

The project not only features recreational parks but also urban areas where such replicas are embedded into the common cityscape. These sometimes perfect imitations of nature often seem too real, nearly photoshopped. This is reflected in Schroder’s photographs. The images are frequently shot at night using long exposures with hardly any direct depiction of human beings. This technique contributes to the illusory effect; the photographs often appear artificial, almost like a mockup.



Fabian Schroder, born 1984 in Berlin, studied art and design with a focus on photography in Antwerp, Vienna and Brussels. His photographic projects revolve around residential and recreational development. Which living concepts does mankind create? How do we spend our free time?

His initial project 'Recreation Now’ focuses on recreational housing phenomena. This theme developed into a more comprehensive leisure leitmotif with the series ‘Hangar Eden’ shot at the theme park "Tropical Islands". In his 2019 completed series ‘Plastic Habitat’, his focus extended to residential development in the outskirts of Dubai. Currently, he is working on two projects with an emphasis on recreational spaces. ‘In Natura’ shows objects that imitate various aspects of nature; ‘Anthropos’ depicts traces of environmental human interferences.



With his picture 'Golf Lawn', Fabian Schroder participated in PEP's exhibition "Urban Challenges". 

'Golf Lawn' depicts the challenge to construct urban space in an hostile environment. Building and maintaining a city in inhospitable conditions like the desert requires considerable resources. The upcoming climate change, however, might require sustainable solutions to cultivate and inhabit the uninhabitable in the future.

The picture shows a golf course in the making on the coastline in Vietnam. With the help of water sprinklers, grass seeds will soon grow and transform the barren land into a smooth green surface; an example of how countless litres of water are used to transform sand into leisure space for a rather privileged minority.


'Golf Lawn', from the exhibition "Urban Challenges"

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