Polygonal Cities Index  |  Richard Horvath Artworks

Digital print Polygonal City 17

Polygonal City 17
Mall

2009
Inkjet on watercolour paper
70 x 52 cms

Most of the prints in this series, Polygonal Cities, feature identifiable localities -- except for this one. It came about when I was examining a snapshot I had taken of the interior of a restaurant in Bandra, a fashionable section of Mumbai that is favoured by the Bollywood crowd. At the time the chaos of a typical Indian street was a subject I found too challenging and I felt more comfortable exploring icons of western culture, such as the shopping mall. Consequently the only vestiges left from that photo are the man looking critically at the camera and the shop mannequins, which were posed unusually on the upper story display windows across the street from the restaurant, and form a backdrop for the cafe featured in this final image.

Thinking about the homogenisation of modern retail, which comes with cultural values and an aesthetic which makes little concession to the host culture, led me to include a style of carpet which I started to notice, during that same holiday, is typical of airport lounges. Similarly, the choice of the Irony fashion label for the window dummies points out the sort of consumerist blarney typical of that industry, and which seems to be used with little concern whether it connects culturally with the destination it is exported to. The 'shoppers' in the middle ground were 3D models which I had downloaded from the Internet, and despite concerns about their crudity and cartoonish aspect, I decided that those attributes might work iconographically as robot-like caricatures with an existence somewhere between the frowning man, and the dummies.

Photo of a restaurant in Hill Road, Bandra
Naomi Klein, No Logo: The Guardian