Ridgemont Typologies

Recalling the photography of Bernd and Hilla Becher are the typological arrays of artist Mark Luthringer. Where the Bechers looked at the industrial landscape of their native Germany, Luthringer looks at Ridgemont Typologies, the American suburban landscape of consumption, status, and identity.

From the artist's statement:
The typological array’s inherent ability to depict prevalence and repetition make it the perfect technique for examining the excess, redundancy, and meaningless freedom of our current age of consumption...

The typological form acheives an uncanny synergy and resonance with this subject matter because it mimics the mental images I suspect many of us form as a way of ordering the chaos of abundance that surrounds us. We can’t help but form in our heads lists, groups and categories based on product, brand, price point, style, market segment, country of origin, etc.

To see one of these turned into a group of images lined up together can be unnerving, though, as if actually seeing it in print allows us to see it, or rather, be confronted by it, in a way never possible when it’s just in our heads. We are presented with order, and while it is often an absurd, seemingly pointless order, it is one that we recognize immediately.

Ridgemont is about our desire for a mythic lifestyle, one industry’s attempt to fulfill that desire, and what the results look like to a passerby. The naming of places has traditionally alluded to history, or in the case of topographically derived names, the details and peculiarities of a learned landscape. In the instant communities of Ridgemont, though, the name and thus the history are fabricated as part of an attempt to turn sense of place into product for consumption by homebuyers. The public symbols of places we are being asked to imagine, these signs are the only way that the notion of "Ridgemont" as a place is established for the rest of us.
Luthringer's Ridgemont Typologies will be on display at 3A Architecture in San Francsisco from May 31-June 29, 2007. Click here for more information.