John Diebel‘s collages are unlike most you come across. They’re not made up of reappropriated images nor digital manipulations. No. They’re simply beautiful images made out of layers of vintage paper created in the style of 80s video games.
Diebel’s subject matter is specifically totalitarian regimes and how modernist architecture and urban planning manifested itself in the politics of the time, specifically the 1980s, a modernist urban landscape defined by simplicity, geometry, state repression and the notion of communal living. We’ve seen these cityscapes so many times before on propoganda newsreels; brand new shining high rises, statues of dictators, images of a happy workforce, ideal urban communal compunds, a communist and socialist dream that never actually materialised and instead crumbled into decay and ruin.
Here’s what Diebel said about the work:
Through highly structured collage-based images I attempt to evoke the era of European totalitarian regimes, exploring their use of architecture as political expression while bridging the gap between idealized conception and the less inspiring truths that arose after construction. My layered compositions represent distillations of actual archetypal edifices in Central and Eastern European cities; buildings which today- even when festooned with large-scale advertisements for free-market consumer goods- reveal a tortured history of war, political terror, and contrived civic happiness.
By employing a false 3-dimensional perspective reminiscent of 1980s video games I summon up a visual concurrence in my work: buildings angle across the viewing plane as a metaphor for an ideologically conceived path toward a future with no vanishing point. Within this device is expressed a subtle irony, as video game technology was on the rise at precisely the moment that European dictatorships were falling. As I see it, ultimately both video games and the remnants of fallen regimes represent virtual worlds which are today romanticized, reviled and encapsulated in outdated artifacts.
Via It’s Nice That
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