Ask The Artist
Gregor Sailer about the project "The Potemkin Village"
The term Potemkin village goes back to the Russian Field Marshal Grigory Alexandrovich Potyomkin. According to legend, the prince had village dummies built in the newly conquered Crimea region in 1787 in order to show the Tsarina Catherine the Great great progress in settlement during her transit.
Gregor Sailer spent two years studying contemporary "Potemkin villages." In seven countries, he photographed mock architectures, backdrop buildings, and illusionistic model villages, including city imitations based on European models-Holland Town or German Town-in the environs of Shanghai, rudimentary urban architectures for military training purposes in France and the United States, and city backdrops for vehicle testing in Sweden. Sailer's perspective is always sober, straightforward and unpretentious. Nevertheless, the photographs convey very different moods - they appear frightening or brutal, but at times also comical, whimsical or tragic. All of them are contemporary stages for just such human activity.