Dnepr Wonderland pays tribute to a new frontier. A citadel meets the circus of Dnepr!
Tomorrowland Today series of paintings was inspired by futuristic, classical, and industrial architecture. The structures I've brought together in these paintings include circus arenas, carousels, coliseums, citadels, and roller coasters. I see resemblances between Disney World's Space Mountain ride and a circus building in the city of Dnepr, Ukraine, a city that became Russia's major center of steel production early in the 20th century. Dnepr has also been an important center of aerospace and nuclear-weapons development; in that sense it is a city of the technological future. Not an amusement-park Tomorrowland, but a real one. There are similarities between the two buildings' design and also in their function as places of entertainment. For this series I have created my own version of the Dnepr circus building, which appears as a spaceship and recurs in many of these paintings, acting as a unifying element.
These paintings highlight the exteriors of complete structures, but also depict architectural fragments and decorative elements. Their style, another unifying element in this series, is largely abstract. Individual elements have sharp, precise edges, highlighted by bright, flat colors. The style has more in common with the abstraction of architectural drawing than with realistic painting. These imaginary cityscapes are a mixture of old and new constructions from various places, East and West. I have sought to bring centuries of utopianism and hope for the future together in a fantasized present, as that present might be created in an architect's or a painter's vision. Designing an amusement park for Disney Imagineering has something in common with designing the new landscape of the aerospace industry, and by now the futuristic designs of both Disney and aerospace have become part of the human imagination.
By Patricia Araujo