Host, Topkapi Palace Hotel, Antalya, Turkey, 2006,
from the series Fake Holidays, C-print, 65 x 80 cm,
© and courtesy the artist
Superman above Red Square, Topkapi Palace Hotel, Antalya, Turkey, 2006,
from the series Fake Holidays,C-print, 65 x 80 cm,
© and courtesy the artist
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Orlando, Florida, USA , 2005,
from the series Fake Holidays,C-print, 65 x 80 cm,
© and courtesy the artist

Reiner RiedlerFake Holidays

 

Azure skies over the South Seas, architectural attractions, and spectacular natural scenery slide past us in Reiner Riedler’s photographs, which are no less splendid, colourful and serene than the scenes they depict. For Fake Holidays, Riedler has gone to places where man creates vacation paradises from scratch rather than relying on capricious nature for them: the ‘tropical islands’ under a bell jar forty miles south of Berlin; the hot springs resort complex “Wow Kremlin Palace” on the Turkish Riviera; and an artificial “wild river” fed by water pumps. The scenes are beautiful and appealing at first glance, but Riedler opens them up by revealing and parodying the blemishes that mar these fake arrangements: here we see a gap that – as in the film The Truman Show – exposes the sky as a giant tent; there, a Superman dressed in a sweat-soaked costume and rubber boots has just checked in at the Red Square Pool. Ersatz worlds spread out before us, which promise to fulfil dreams – and they are, it is true, more real than virtual worlds. We turn up our noses at them, feeling above such ridiculous fakes, and yet we all secretly hanker for a flawless idyll, and are willing to let ourselves be hoodwinked every once in a while.

Ruth Horak