February 21, 2009 - Stroom Den Haag - Cyprien Gaillard
February 21, 2009

Cyprien Gaillard

Photo: Cyprien Gaillard, Dunepark, 2009
(courtesy Stroom Den Haag)

Cyprien Gaillard
exhibition and project in public space

February 22 – April 5, 2009

Hogewal 1-9
2514 HA The Hague
The Netherlands

www.stroom.nl

With ‘Beton Belvedere’, Stroom Den Haag presents the first solo exhibition in the Netherlands of the French artist Cyprien Gaillard. Intrigued by contemporary ruins and concerned by the rapid destruction of modernist architecture, Gaillard explores notions of state vandalism, gentrification and the picturesque. The exhibition is curated by Zoë Gray and is accompanied by an ambitious project in public space, titled ‘Dunepark’. Gaillard’s site-specific project is the excavation of a World War II bunker currently buried in a hill overlooking the beach of Scheveningen.

Beton Belvedere
Gaillard’s exhibition at Stroom presents an overview of his work from the past few years, revealing his unique vision of our contemporary landscape. Included are two large photographs, ‘View over Sighthill’ and ‘Chateau d’Oiron’ (both 2008). Whilst seeming to depict two unrelated buildings – a tower block in Glasgow and a French 18th century chateau – these two pictures reveal an enduring fascination of the artist: the widespread demolition of modernist architecture across Europe and the cultural amnesia that he believes this demolition will cause. Also presented at Stroom are Gaillard’s etchings ‘Belief in the Age of Disbelief’ (2005), in which iconic Modernist towers are inserted into the rural landscapes of 17th century Holland. As a counterpart to Gaillard’s work, a sequence of etchings by the Italian master Piranesi are shown – on loan for the first time ever from the collection of the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. These works locate Gaillard’s very contemporary practice within the art historical tradition of landscape, whilst also revealing the ongoing artistic fascination with ruins and with shifting notions of the picturesque.

Dunepark
Parallel to the show, Gaillard will excavate a German bunker currently buried in a hill overlooking the beach of Scheveningen. This is an area already undergoing drastic transformation as the existing communities and industries are displaced to make way for new housing developments. Gaillard’s project comments obliquely on this process of gentrification and the way in which outmoded architecture is buried or hidden beneath new layers of urban development. This work, titled ‘Dunepark’ – a rough translation of its location – can be seen as the embodiment of the ‘Bunker Archeology’ carried out by the French cultural theorist Paul Virilio in his eponymous 1975 book and exhibition. For Gaillard, the physical process of excavating is a form of negative sculpting. He sees this submerged bunker as a buried readymade. With the help of large earth-moving equipment and volunteers of the Foundation Atlantikwall Museum Scheveningen, Gaillard will dig out this massive form to reveal it in all its brutalist glory, before recovering it once more.

Acknowledgments
‘Beton Belvedere’ is made possible by the generous support of the Mondriaan Foundation and Maison Descartes – Institut Français des Pays-Bas. Special thanks to the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Laura Bartlett Gallery London, Cosmic Gallery Paris, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen.

‘Dunepark’ is organized in collaboration with the Foundation Atlantikwall Museum Scheveningen. The bunker excavation is made possible by the generous support of the City of The Hague (Culture and Finances), Vestia Den Haag Scheveningen, CulturesFrance Paris and Fonds 1818 The Hague.

Stroom Den Haag
Hogewal 1-9
2514 HA The Hague
The Netherlands
Opening hours: Wednesday-Sunday 12-5 pm

T +31-70 3658985
info@stroom.nl

www.stroom.nl

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