Water Rises Around Vibrant Architectural Models in James Casebere’s Haunting Photos

water rises around candy-colored architectural models

“Stairs” (2023). All photos © James Casebere, courtesy of the artist and Sean Kelly, New York/Los Angeles, shared with permission

In the late 1980s, architect Balkrishna Doshi designed a housing complex for poor residents in Aranya, located just a few kilometers outside Indore, India. He believed that homes were “living entities” that would change and evolve over time with new residents, new uses, and new ways of life. Having trained with Le Corbusier, Doshi built 80 homes designed to merge public and private life, their constructions outfitted with sharp, geometric angles and vivid colors that contrasted the often somber hues of public housing.

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Artist James Casebere draws on the lauded Aranya complex in a new body of work on view this month at Sean Kelly. Seeds of Time features Casebere’s signature constructed photography, in which he builds miniature models that he captures atop a table in his studio. Including renditions of Doshi’s candy-colored architecture, the exhibition addresses the rapidly rising seas that have become a visual synonym for the climate crisis and emphasizes the human impact of a changed planet.

Situated in the built environment, Casebere’s scenes are devoid of people. Their presence haunts the pristine spaces untouched by belongings or signs of wear that instead witness water rising to their entrances. Celebrating ingenuity, the images highlight the ways architecture can be created to foster safety, refuge, and social bonds in a world with a widening wealth gap and worsening climate disaster.

Several works reference Doshi, including “Cavern with Skylights H,” which reinterprets an underground art gallery. Others like “Patio with Blue Sky” look to biomorphic designs by innovators like Burkinabé-German architect Francis Kéré, whose works prioritize sustainability and collaboration.

Seeds of Time runs from June 27 to August 2 in New York. Glimpse more of Casebere’s process below and on Instagram.


water rises around an orange, geometric architectural model

“Patio with Blue Sky” (2024)

water rises around candy-colored architectural models with a starry sky

“Beach Huts (Night)” (2024)

water rises around a moss enveloped architectural model

“Greenhouse” (2024)

water rises around a beige architectural model with sharp angles and stairs

“Chulah Cookstove” (2024)

light shines through a cave like cavern hole and peers down to a body of water

“Cavern with Skylights H” (2024)

water rises around candy-colored architectural models

“Beach Huts (Day)” (2024)

an aerial view of the artist's studio with architectural models on a table and photo equipment

The artist’s studio

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Source: thisiscolossal.com

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