Opening: Tuesday, 30 April 2019, 6 p.m.
In her work, Lara Almarcegui (*1972) investigates urban zones, she explores the relation between construction, decay and regeneration of our built world and engages with property situations of natural resources. In 2013, she became famous for her work created for the Spanish pavilion at the Venice Biennale. There, she heaped up mountains of construction rubble inside the pavilion, which were equivalent to the amount of material used to erect the building. Visitors were able to see the building as well as the raw material. Materiality and construction became tangible in a physical and direct way. Almarcegui describes her approach as follows: “I am searching for a way to talk about architecture while avoiding images.” She succeeds in doing so by meticulously doing researches, by gathering information and creating a dense net out of them – comparable to a scientist.
Since the middle of 1990s, the artist, who lives in Rotterdam, collects historical, geographical, ecological and sociological facts on buildings and peripheral areas, on materials and natural resources. Almarcegui often moves at zones of transition. She draws our attention to abandoned, mostly empty and often forgotten sites in a city or on the periphery. These wastelands, with or without modern ruins, become overgrown and – simultaneously – bear first signs of the possibility of urban development in a near future. She interrogates experts on such “terrains vagues,” and notes all these information in small artistic guides, in which one can find a matter-of-factly alternative interpretation of the history, presence and future of such a zone.
In ETH’s collection of prints and drawings, such guides will be on view together with other projects of the renowned artist. For the first time, there will be a particular focus on the impact of drawing. Abstract drawings, which came into being in conjunction with her purchase of mineral rights, are displayed next to nearly expressive ones, which make the projects of heaped building material a subject of discussion. Almarcegui always takes up issues of great importance: She renders visible that the built world is never detached from political, social and ecological changes. For the simple reason that neutrality is an illusion.
Curator: Dr Linda Schädler, Head Graphische Sammlung ETH Zürich