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Urban Villages: Walter Niedermayr’s Explorations of the Fiemme Valley

The city and the countryside are often thought of as opposites. Walter Niedermayr’s impressive photographs of the Valley Community of Fiemme in the Dolomites show this to be a false assumption. In the Middle Ages, eleven communities merged into a kind of farmers’ republic with its own administration – their independence was contractually sealed in the year 1111 and dissolved in the 19th century. But history left its mark on the communal spirit of these Italian, German and Ladin-speaking communities, which can be read in their architecture.

Niedermayr’s photo series “Coexistences” reveals disparate neighbours, tight gaps between buildings, and bold additions and extensions. The social and built fabric of these villages and communes have developed according to a striking principle similar to the densification of urban centres. Niedermayr observes everyday life and the transitions between public and private with a distanced gaze, using his camera to analyse architectural and spatial structures. He discovers gardens and streets, distinct edifices and cosy passageways. The photo series “Coexistences” offers insight into a fascinating world that the renowned artist has explored for many years. A selection of the photographs that he took over the course of his research can be seen until February 23 in Innsbruck at aut. architektur und tirol.

Issued parallel to the exhibition is the publication “Walter Niedermayr: Koexistenzen” (ed. aut.architektur und tirol, German/English, Hatje Cantz, ISBN 978-3-7757-4390-7).

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