I am just a scenic spot

pauline niks

2016 - 2017

All About Scenic Spots

For her photographic adventure I am just a scenic spot, Pauline Niks made two long journeys to China, travelling the entire country to photograph so-called landmarks. Her particular focus was on replicas of iconic tourist attractions from other countries, such as the Eiffel Tower and the White House. The idea behind the undertaking was the manipulative nature of documentary photography: it is often seen as a reliable reproduction of reality when in fact it creates its own reality. 

The resulting photographs convey what Guillaume Bijl once called “cultural tourism”: the setting up and dressing of scenes that reveal and celebrate the widespread need for certain images. We all like to surround ourselves with fantasies that perhaps say very little about the world outside our heads and more about the fears and longings that are so entwined with our beings that we seem to be bound to carry them around and to transform them into stupid acts and ugliness.

Pauline Niks reinforces both the confusion and realism of her dream-like images by printing the photographs as postcards and displaying them in a postcard spinner, typical of museum foyers and tourist spots. The large-scale, framed prints of these “documentary” images allow us to experience the neutral yet sensitive lighting and the soft colours that tend towards light blue, lending a personal touch to the pictures.

Hans Theys, Montagne de Miel, 31 July 2017

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  • Römerberg was built in European medieval times. The square is located in the old city center of Frankfurt, north of the bridge over the Main River. Römerberg is Germany’s most important city square. Every year during Christmas, it also hosts the Frankfurt Christmas market.

  • The Golden Gate Bridge, made out of more than 100,000 tons of steel, is the symbol of San Francisco. 
    The northern shore offers the most panoramic view of the bridge. During sunset the scenery is magnificent, but to really appreciate the view of and from the bridge, you should avoid foggy weather.
    The Golden Gate Bridge is also one of the most famous suicide sites in the world.

  • Florence is a city in central Italy and the capital city of Tuscany. Its Italian name refers to blossoming, and thus also to prosperity. Florence is such a vibrant place because of the Arno River flowing through the city centre. 

  • The Eiffel Tower is now the symbol of Paris and even France. Every day ten thousands of tourists go up to enjoy the Paris scenery. Of course, taking silly pictures is not the only thing you can do high up in the tower. If you have enough time, you can have lunch or dinner in the Michelin star restaurant, but make sure to book well in advance. 

  • Lake Malar (Swedish: Mälaren) is located in the eastern part of Sweden. It has a surface of 1,140 square kilometers and is 64 meters deep. It is the third largest freshwater lake in the country after Lake Vänern and Lake Vättern. The name “Mälaren” stems from “mælir”, the old Norse word for gravel, referring to its stony beach.

  • Manneken Pis is located in Rue de L’Étuve, near the Grand Place of downtown Brussels. It was created by the great sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy in 1610. The 50-centimeter high sculpture depicts a naked boy with curly hair and a turned-up nose. He urinates all the time, smiling and standing with his arms akimbo and his belly sticking out.

  • In Arabic Sphinx means “father of terror”. The Sphinx of Giza is 73 meters long, 21 meters tall and its face is 5 meters wide. The Sphinx is magnificent with its solemn expression staring far away.
    The statue is sitting west to east, crouched beside the tomb of Khafra. Almost every visitor who comes here will take a dislocated photo of “kissing” the Sphinx. In addition, you can shoot a variety of photos like leaning against or kissing pyramids.

  • The Niagara Falls are among the biggest and most famous falls in the world. They are located at the border of the United States and Canada. The falls consist of three different parts: The Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal veil Falls. By boat or helicopter trips you
    can enjoy the spectacular view. Two nights a week every summer there is a fireworks show on the water.

  • The town of Zaanse Schans lies 15 kilometres north of Amsterdam. The ancient buildings vividly depict the Dutch life of the 17th and 18th centuries. You can find real houses, ancient shipyards, wooden shoes, museums and windmills. Some of these buildings are inhabited, some can be rented by tourists.

  • The Capitol Building has 3 storeys and is 233 meters long. It is made of white marble. The white building is modelled on the Panthéon of Paris. This architectural masterpiece is surrounded by giant trees, contributing to its magnificent style.

  • The Great Wall was built along an East-to-West line across the historical Northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe.
    Modern people from all walks of life come to Beijing to visit the place. Nixon, Margaret Thatcher and more than 300 world-renowned people have visited Badaling Great Wall.

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