Ludlow 38, European Kunsthalle Cologne, and the Goethe-Institut New York proudly present Lara Almarcegui’s first solo exhibition in the US, featuring Guide to the Wastelands of Flushing River, a newly commissioned publication produced during several visits to New York City.
Lara Almarcegui’s research-based work focuses on the varying realities underlying built environments and how excess and absence are manifested in urban design. For this exhibition the artist has explored the urban and environmental fabric of New York City. In a new work with two components, Almarcegui surveys currently unused areas along the Flushing River in Queens. The Flushing River is only four miles long, but its exploitation has generated a number of spaces currently not used for any particular purpose. Some of the wastelands are now slated for regeneration as natural reserves, parks or residential areas, however many of them still offer the possibility to observe processes of decay and wilderness.
The publication Guide to the Wastelands of Flushing River contains photographs from 12 sites in Queens accompanied by concise descriptions that outline the locations’ history, present state, and future. Visitors are invited to pick up a copy and explore these sites at their own leisure. A slide installation presents a selection of photographs taken during Almarcegui’s excursions along Flushing River, from its original source via Willow Lake and Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the site for the 1939 and the 1964 World’s Fairs, to its estuary at Flushing Bay.
The gallery also offers access to a variety of material pertaining to Almarcegui’s work-in-progress Going Down Into a Tunnel Excavation. The expected outcome of this piece is the organization of a guided tour to ongoing or recent excavations in the city.
In counterpoint to these new projects, a group of earlier works are presented: For Construction Materials Sao Paulo City (2006), Almarcegui computed official data on how much building material was used in the city of São Paulo for its buildings (commercial, residential, institutional and industrial), shantytowns, streets and subway system. Exploring the Floor, Sala Moncada, Fundación La Caixa, Barcelone (2003) is a slide projection documenting the removal and reinstallation of a stone floor in an exhibition venue.
Lara Almarcegui was born in Zaragoza, Spain, in 1972 and lives in Rotterdam. She has exhibited widely, at the Liverpool Biennial in 2004, the São Paulo Biennial in 2006, the Gwangju and Taipei Biennials in 2008, and the Ramallah and Athens Biennials in 2009, to name a few. Recent solo exhibitions include Ruins in the Netherlands at Ellen de Bruijne Gallery, Amsterdam and Pepe Cobo, Madrid, as well as Bilbao Wastelands at Sala Rekalde in Bilbao, all in 2008.
With Lara Almarcegui’s first solo exhibition in the US, the European Kunsthalle Cologne concludes its curatorial collaboration with Ludlow 38, continuing the emphasis on both the discursive potential of contemporary art and the institutional effort to enable new productions. After the Kunstverein München and the European Kunsthalle Cologne, the next curatorial partner for Ludlow 38 will be the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart.
This exhibition received additional support from the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad (SEACEX) and the Directorate General for Cultural and Scientific Relations – Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.