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CRITIC'S CHOICE

REVIEW

Just a couple of minutes' walk from the Henry Moore exhibition at Rotterdam's Kunsthal (see left) is Spectacular City: Photographing the Future at the Netherlands Architecture Institute. In a way the title is misleading, but the show's all the better for that. True, some images are certainly spectacular: for instance, Andreas Gursky's 2m-tall print of Foster's Hongkong & Shanghai Bank, lit up at night, where you can peer through the glazing on each oor and even make out the contents of people's desks; or Sze Tsung Leon's more dystopian photos of a sprawling Beijing, which look like a latter-day version of one of Hilberseimer's grim urban visions.

But the exhibition has its intimate moments and a range of moods. Thomas Ruff's tiny nocturnal pictures of dimly lit corners of the city are strong on atmosphere, with a distinct film-noir feeling, as are Todd Hido's photos of the fringes of LA. By contrast, Heidi Specker focuses on details, including a series of studies of the concrete on London's Queen Elizabeth Hall. Reiterating the question of how far the show is 'documentary' are several photos made from models - some painstaking ones that are convincingly real. No single argument emerges from the selection but it makes for an excellent show; and many of the photos are well-reproduced in the accompanying catalogue (NAI Publishers, 47.50 euros).

Also at the NAI, in its topfloor gallery, is an exhibition that consciously highlights the mundane, rather than the spectacular: Neither Town Nor Country/The Spatially Disordered Netherlands. The photograph above by Dieuwertje Komen gives the general idea, as the show examines those indeterminate areas where greenfields (albeit man-made ones) are steadily eroded by piecemeal development; this, of course, has echoes for the UK. Dutch savoir-faire is definitely in evidence, though: 'Between houses, barns and factories, people find room for plants, seesaws or an erotic massage parlour, ' says the introductory text ( www. nai. nl).

So there's plenty to see in Rotterdam just now - a taster for 2007, when it will be City of Architecture, with many events scheduled, including its third architecture biennale ( www. rotterdam2007. nl).

For forthcoming events visit www. ajplus. co. uk/diary

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