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Parliament is a place where the representatives of the people meet and hold the current government to account. Nico Bick (b. 1964) visited every parliament in the European Union, invariably at a time when the building was empty. Standing in the main debating chamber, he took a number of detailed pictures from one carefully selected viewpoint that covered all the main functions of the space: the seats for voting members, the gallery for members of the public, the places for government ministers and the centrally located seats for the presiding officer and clerks. Bick photographed the parliaments of all 28 member states of the European Union in this way, as well as the European parliaments in Brussels and Strasbourg. He presents the resulting images in the form of triptychs and tetraptychs. They reveal that, while the parliaments may be basically uniform in layout, they are certainly not purely functional spaces. In their architecture, furniture, decoration, colour schemes and lighting, each of them conveys the national identity of the country concerned.

Return to the exhibition 'Europe. What Else?'

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