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For the past six years, Clemens Gritl’s digital renderings have examined the tension between the revolutionary sculptural beauty of post-war megastructures and their loss of human scale. Through his series A Future City From The Past, Clemens Gritl draws on “the mystifying vision of a radically aggressive and uncompromising urban dystopia”

Starting with J.G. Ballard’s 1975 dystopian novel I.G.H. (High-Rise), adapted for the screen by Ben Wheatley in 2015. The Berlin artist’s starting point is this: can the presence and atmosphere of a massive high-rise influence social relations to the point of destruction and anarchy? His images question the consequences, imagining the influence that monumental architecture can have on society and human beings. 


While the photorealistic aspect is in line with 1960s genre photography, some of the illustrations are inspired in particular by the work of architects Owen Luder & Rodney Gordon and photographer Thomas Struth.

“All the buildings and structures are homogeneous,” he explains, “The differentiations of architectural styles and eras are eliminated and replaced by geometric structures, repetition and absolute materiality.”In this deliberate black and white, these “living machines” (in reference to Le Corbusier’s definition,”A house is a machine for living”), are encircled by endless highway networks, forming a “super brutalist” megalopolis. His 3D architectural models show how a prefabricated city might age in a world of endless concrete and asphalt.

Nathalie Dassa

Crédits image © Clemens Gritl