The photographic series “In the Garden” depicts scenes from a fictional, indoor garden complex.

The world we observe appears to be entirely artificial—a plastic utopia. It has been carefully designed to deliver perfectly manicured happiness and relaxation to its inhabitants.

Yet the landscape, utterly estranged from nature, fails to imitate the actual thing. Indeed, it leaves the viewer to face nothing more than a shallow masquerade.

Like parcels that haven’t been picked up, the inhabitants are trying hard to cheat themselves into happiness.

Bright colors and superficial luxury: a dystopian vision in utopian dress.

—Clemens Ascher

Editors’ Note: Clemens Ascher presented his work at the 2014 edition of photo::vienna. Learn more about the 2016 edition, coming in October.