Photographs by Leo Fabrizio.
Infolio editions, Gollion, In French, Germ, 2004. 176 pp., 75 colour illustrations, 13x9½".

The photography of architecture and of landscapes are pedigreed disciplines up for critical review and boundary breaking, with artists finding opportunities for personal expression and idiosyncratic documentary projects. Leo Fabrizio takes on a curious hybrid of the two: Swiss military bunkers that are hidden, camouflaged, set into outcroppings and otherwise concealing or baffling them from the sights of invading forces. Due to Switzerland’s geographical situation and neutrality, the necessity for the bunkers is intrinsic; their wholly defensive stance produces structures that are functional, but whose function is also perceptual. Ladders, doors and locks suddenly materialize out of stone; heroic bulks of rock and concrete look like the lairs of giants, not cowering humans. The dual purposes of the bunkers— to withstand penetration while also obscuring their mass—are sometimes at odds with each other. There is also the danger of working too well, and friendly forces missing their existence, as one bunker with red arrows pointing toward the portal seems to indicate. But these are only one kind of bunker; there are also structures in plain view (sometimes in urban areas) that look like outbuildings or residences with no military value. Many are totally ingenious, and the photos have to be scrutinized and interpreted, imparting a light tactical responsibility to the viewer that most projects can’t. When the artificial and natural are engineered to overlap, it is the structures that seem totally subsumed in the land which are the most successful. And the more puzzling, engaging and oddly beautiful the photographs of them are. ALAN RAPP Read Publisher's Description.

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