Jakob Kolding's Urban Jungle
Also featured are two pieces made especially for the exhibit named Untitled (Ann Arbor/Detroit) (2010). Both are poster-size prints that speak to Michigan's longstanding socioeconomic difficulties. One features a newsprint photo of a crouching man next to a black jagged line. It reads: "A rip in the fabric of reality." Visions of dilapidated city blocks, so prevalent in downtown Detroit, immediately spring to mind. The ruins that checker the Midwest's deindustrialized cities are rips in the urban fabric that have yet to heal. Kolding's contrasting views of the reality of urban decay and the creativity of youth culture suggest that such sites are uniquely primed for artistic regeneration.
While some might see his work as an ironic comment on the ubiquity of mass-media representations, it can be equally argued that Kolding's collages reflect a more heroic view of the power of cultural appropriation and metropolitan renewal. The distinct glimmer of a utopian impulse shines out from these tightly constructed pictures. Catch a glance before they leave.
[Originally published in September, 2010.]