Lori Nix Builds and Photographs Miniature Disaster Scenes

by Roxanne GoldbergPosted on

Lori Nix’s first solo exhibition in Germany recently closed. Exhibited at Galerie Klüser in Munich, “The City” featured photographs of spaces left abandoned and in chaos. Though the photographs look convincingly like documentation of real spaces, they are snapshots of miniature, doll house-like dioramas the artist builds in her studio. The series, in which each staged photograph represents a snapshot of a destitute city, appears to have been captured long after an unnamed apocalyptic moment.

In Map Room, old world globes are scattered in a Baroque room lined with maps and topped with a vaulted marble ceiling. The lighting makes it appear as if a thick layer of dust has settled over the precious objects. The observer feels a sense of loss, struggling to decipher the hanging maps and to define the city’s geographic location.

In contrast to the destroyed elegance of Map Room, Chinese Take-Out shows the narrow hall of a fast-food restaurant in shambles. Like Map Room, the wall decorations do not orient the viewer, but instead offer a sense of being anywhere and everywhere. “The City” could very well be any city in the world, and perhaps in this way, the series functions as a universal and prophetic warning. A glimmer of hope exists however, in Subway. In this work, the observer is placed inside a sand-filled subway car. Through parted doors, one sees skyscrapers in the distance. This image gives the observer an impression of being a lone survivor, while also suggesting life may still exist elsewhere.

Those who are curious about how Nix stages these apocalyptic scenes should visit her blog, My 8×10 Life, where she demystifies much of her process.


Lori Nix in her studio working on a diorama.


Nix’s cat invades the set.


Studio view of one of the dioramas.