The project is dedicated to one of the outstanding cultural themes: The Ideal City
and its sibling the Invisible City. Forty artists comment and reflect on this idea in two
European cities, Zamość, Poland and Potsdam, Germany, which today are
still recognisable as ideal city plannings.


Since the renaissance, visual artists have been intensely interested in the concept
of the Ideal City, even though most of them remained unrealised, invisible cities.
This continues until Constant’s »New Babylon« and the projects of the Archigram
group in the 1960s. In the last 25 years, however, this idea no longer played
a noteworthy role in artistic discourse although many artists deal with the thematic
field of space/house/city in their works. The general absence of utopian thinking
in the political realm and society seems to be also manifest in art.


The idea of the Ideal City was always closely tied to the question of how a society
should best be set up. The physical shape of the city often developed parallel to
political-social utopias. The hesitation about the theme of the »Ideal City« is also
based in the suspicion of totalitarianism under which utopias in general meanwhile
stand. Following geometrical regularities, usually planned in the form of orthogonal
grids, ideal cities were regarded as a sign and expression of rationality.
The use of the grid for city layouts often found its continuation in the individual
buildings, whose facades and forms varied similar basic modules.


Today, the fascination exerted by the idea of the ideal city is primarily aesthetic.
But the strict grid and rational structure are not exhausted in the charm of the surface;
the utopian spirit beneath it is palpable – including its ominousness. Especially today,
when the discourse about form and development of urban space is governed by current
themes like the »Megalopolis« or »Shrinking Cities«, it seems necessary to give the
concept of the Ideal City a fresh glance while also searching for traces of the many
invisible cities.


Ideal City –Invisible Cities will be realised with several partners and includes
40 artists from 12 European and 6 non-European countries. It will be accompanied
by two symposia and a comprehensive catalogue. In each city, 20 works addressing
the existing urban space and specific architectural or historical given will be shown,
mostly created especially for the sites. Squares, streets as well as public and semi-public
structures such as courtyards, passages, historical museums, synagogues, churches or
abandoned edifices will be part of the route. The second major part of the project will
be an exhibition in several chapters around essential aspects of the theme. Like the
interventions in public space, the exhibition will cover several venues, all in short
walking distance from another.


Artists: Tarek Al-Ghoussein, Francis Alÿs, Carl Andre, Archigram, Colin Ardley,
Tim Ayres, Mirosław Bałka, Daniela Brahm, Pedro Cabrita Reis,
Rui Calçada Bastos, Brian O’Connell, Constant, Jonas Dahlberg, Tacita Dean,
Jarosław Fliciński, Carlos Garaicoa, Dan Graham, George Hadjimichalis,
Rula Halawani, Franka Hörnschemeyer, Craigie Horsfield, Katarzyna Józefowicz,
Jakob Kolding, Ola Kolehmainen, Lucas Lenglet, Sol LeWitt, Teresa Murak,
David Maljković, Gerold Miller, Matthias Müller, Daniel Roth, Albrecht Schäfer,
Kai Schiemenz, Les Schliesser, Melanie Smith, Monika Sosnowska, David Tremlett,
Anton Vidokle, Lawrence Weiner, Krzysztof Zieliński, Tilman Wendland.


Ideal City – Invisible Cities is curated by Sabrina van der Ley and Markus Richter,
European Art Projects.