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"Changing Places: Lara Almarcegui, Per Hasselberg and Józef Robakowski"
2002-05-08 until 2002-06-09
Index - Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation
Stockholm, , SE

Index presents Changing Places, a group exhibition showing various perspectives regarding the process of change in urban spaces and the points of demarcation between the private and the public space. The three artists participating are Lara Almarcegui (Spain / Netherlands), Per Hasselberg (Sweden) and Józef Robakowski (Poland). With differing motives they observe, document and approach environments that are undergoing completely real transformations, as a consequence of politic, social or economic change.  

In Lara Almarcegui’s work Amsterdam Wastelands Map (1999), originally produced for Bureau Amsterdam, the artist turns her attention to public spaces in Amsterdam that do not correspond to any construction or planning. In a way they are non-places, in continual transformation, and can suddenly cease to exist at all. These places can be described as a kind of transitional space, according to two references: the first as a space between another space, and as processes between what they were and what they are going to be. Index shows the guide that is the end result of Almarcegui’s observations, as well as a slide show featuring the areas.

Per Hasselberg shows a work produced especially for this Index exhibition. It could be said that the two lines of investigation of this work come together near the victory column in Berlin’s Tiergarten. Or more specifically at Das Schwedenhaus from the Interbau-57 exhibition, designed by architect Fritz Jaenecke, and the Swedish Embassy’s fallout bunker, which construction was supervised by engineer Erik Nygren. Hasselberg initiates his investigation through places he has a personal relationship to: an apartment in Lilla Essingen, Stockholm, which both he and Nygren have lived in, as well as Hasselberg’s current apartment in Sorgenfri, Malmö, designed by Jaenecke. The research then leads Hasselberg to Berlin and Stockholm. The artist’s role here is to weave together the various threads connecting people as well as places. Through text and images, as well as a taped interview, these relationships are revealed and presented at Index.

In Józef Robakowski’s 19 minute video From My Window  (1978-99) the artist observes events and people in the public space, as seen from his window, high up in a large apartment building in Lodz, Poland. With a warm and humorous voice-over, he describes his neighbours and their regular habits. As the years pass, apparently little changes, but larger transformations do occur. The 1st May parade suddenly changes direction one year in the early 80s, from left to right, to from right to left. The parking lot outside the building transforms into a bus station and gradually into a construction site. A recurring theme in the film is the continual social and ideological changes taking place in society.

Lara Almarcegui
Amsterdam Wastelands Map (1999)

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