Grey Matter - Thesis solo exhibition. May 2010, Cooper Union, NY
The Potemkin city
Prince Grigory Potyomkin (1739-1791) was a Russian army officer and politician, best known for being highly beloved by German-born Empress Catherine II the Great. After major successes in the Russo-Turkish War, he was promoted to Lieutenant-General, a position that got him closer to the tsarina. Potyomkin, who was ten years younger then her, became her first adviser and later her lover. In the following seventeen years Potyomkin was the most powerful man in Russia. He founded new cities and achieved considerable success in Russia's recently annexed southern provinces, where he was an absolute ruler.
Legend has it that in honor of the Empress’s visit to the Ukraine and the Crimea in 1778, Potyomkin had constructed hollow façades along the desolate banks of the Dnieper River. These fake settlements, composed of cloth and painted cardboard houses, were temporarily built to create a set that existed purely for Catherine’s eyes (her P.O.V.), as it was designed according to the path of her trip. Incorporating the movement of the carriage with these elaborate sets, it might be that Potyomkin invented the first motion picture.