June 18, 2004 - Frac Bourgogne - Lara Almarcegui
June 18, 2004

Lara Almarcegui

Lara Almarcegui
26 June - 21 August 2004

FRAC Bourgogne
49 Rue de Longvic, 21000 Dijon
telephone 33 3 80 67 18 18
fax. 33 3 80 66 33 29
e-mail : infos [​at​] frac-bourgogne.org


Opening: Friday 25 June from 6 pm
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 2-6 pm

Lara Almarcegui is interested in taking a closer look at the architectures and spaces that surround us and are among the least enhanced, for the potential freedom that they represent. Following the invitation from the Burgundy Regional Contemporary Art Collection – the FRAC Bourgogne – she has chosen on the one hand to partly reveal the memory of the industrial building in which this institution is located. To this end, she has removed all the claddings of a wall in order to show the construction. On the other hand, she has criss-crossed the Burgundy region in search of contemporary ruins which are also evidence of a history of the region with which only the inhabitants are acquainted. This way of seeing Dijon and its surroundings is aimed, through the nature of the buildings chosen, at prompting a life-filled relationship with each one of them.

The inauguration of the exhibition will be followed next day by the screening of the film En construction (Under Construction) by the Spanish film-maker Jose-Luis Guerin. This film, which has been awarded several prizes, is a tour round Barcelona based on the idea that things can only be known about and understood from within. The screening will be followed by a meeting with the director.

Since 1995 Lara Almarcegui has been exploring the relations between architecture and urbanism, focusing on abandoned spaces that are usually regarded as commonplace, and spaces in the process of being demolished. In her projects, she examines certain places and situations, at times in a very direct and personal, and almost intuitive way, at others, conversely, by way of precise and painstaking research projects. She has thus taken an interest in the FRAC building itself with Frac de Bourgogne: materiaux de construction (2003). On view in the show titled 1:1 x temps – quantites, proportions et fuites, this work showed in one room all the materials forming the building. Lara Almarcegui thus revealed the place in its materiality, often forgotten in favour of exhibited works, and opened up the exhibition area to its architectural reality. At the Ateliers internationaux d’Alsace et de Lorraine [Alsace and Lorraine International Workshops] in 2000, while she was putting together archives about the garden sheds of Phalsbourg, she discovered a very delicate shed. In order to demonstrate her admiration for its past beauty, she devoted three weeks to restoring it.

Lara Almarcegui emphasizes her preference for what happens in the street rather than in some exhibition room. She nevertheless recognizes that the art world, today, is the sole space that makes it possible to execute unexpected propositions with this degree of freedom. The exhibition venue thus helps her to record her projects in differing ways.

For some, she herself is conducting an experiment which she puts across through photographs, images and even plans. Let us mention Wastelands Map Amsterdam, Guide to the Empty Sites of Amsterdam (1999), which has just been purchased for the Burgundy FRAC collection, and for which she compiled a guide to wasteland sites in Amsterdam. She stresses that: “These plots, which have no precise function, offer a huge potential. They are spaces of freedom, where anything can happen.”

For other projects, she works directly with the public, offering it a chance to experiment itself with the site. She accordingly invited many people to be present in Saint-Nazaire at the Demolition Opposite the Exhibition Room (2002). “By showing a building falling down, I wanted to offer an image as far removed as possible from the image of a city presented by urbanists and town-planners.”

The exhibition at the Burgundy FRAC being presented this summer fits in with this way of thwarting the norm and the sanitized form of the urban space.

By revealing the construction of the exhibition space itself, Lara Almarcegui appropriates artistic processes made possible by artists from the 1960s. She has thus developed an interest in the work of Gordon Matta Clark and the writings of Robert Smithson. By removing the claddings from the FRAC wall, Lara Almarcegui is passionate about the memory of its construction. This palimpsest follows the course of time, and reveals the many different transformations, the ghosts of buildings now vanished.

The same goes for the projection Ruins, around Dijon (2004). She photographs abandoned modern buildings in rural and urban landscapes to bring out their whole reality. This inventory, which she records both by imagery and by laconic descriptions, retraces a recent history of forgotten architectures, bygone activities, and transformed organizations.

Yet what is involved is not a romantic vision of ruins, or regret for a world forever disappeared. If Lara Almarcegui has an interest in these architectures, it is for the way in which they reveal time. According to Marc Auge’s perception, a ruin is a remnant of architecture with “an aptitude for making time – pure time – felt without summing up history or concluding it in the illusion of knowledge and beauty.” Otherwise put, at a time when history is a challenge of political power, where heritage and commemoration often erase any effective memory, Lara Almarcegui creates situations, for herself and for others, which have an effect on reality by showing it in every sense of the term. To this end, she studies “empty spaces, those which look as if they are of no importance, because they have no immediate and visible usefulness.” The relation to the world that Lara Almarcegui enjoys produces new situations in the common space, like so many propositions left to those who will know how to grasp them.

Free guided visits: Saturday 26 June at 3 pm at the Frac
Jus de fruits concert #3: Sunday 27 June at 11 am at the Frac – free entry
Screening of the Film En Construction on Saturday 26 June at 8 pm at the FRAC, followed by a lecture given by the director, Jose-Luis Guerin

This exhibition was made possible through the support of the Minister of Culture (DRAC: Regional Direction of Cultural Affairs of Burgundy), the Regional Council of Burgundy and the General Council of the Cote d’Or.

Frac Bourgogne
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