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Recycled Architecture

An exhibition of Krisztina Erdei, Péter Puklus, Andi Schmied and Lilla Szász

Opening: 22 November, 2016, Tuesday, 6 pm

On view until 6 January, 2017

The theme of the exhibition embraces the encounter between buildings and constructions erected for a stable, reasonable – if not immortal – state, and the eventualities of present time. Our spaces – be they buildings, streets, or cities – are constantly overwritten and change over time; they are modified by the shifting of political will; they are worn and re-written by everyday life and the events of history. 

This is an essential part of them; frequently we do not remember what was the reason, the political or social surroundings of a newly erected building; why a public place was formed or destroyed; whose personal space a house or a room used to be; what stories these lived through and what do they keep quiet about.

The photographs displayed on the exhibition follow such stories which are on the verge of disappearing, and grasp the moment when the past is still visible in the present, when the layers of remembrance have not yet blended. We visit recycled architecture after wars, changes of regimes and economic crises, however, we already walk on a smooth surface where life works, and the grass grows.

On the photographs taken by Krisztina Erdei, on the seashore of the Crimean Peninsula, local people spend their summer among unfinished construction sites and huge concrete breakwaters. The pictures were taken before the Crimean was annexed by Russia, still, it is difficult not to see in them the events that have taken place some years later. We do not see a war zone but rather a peaceful summer resort, living in the shadow of its past and the light of its future, an almost inexplicably peaceful life.

Local people re-cycled the filling station, once planned on the border of Kiskundorozsma, now appearing as a torso, with a naturalness – and necessity – similar to the way a repeater antenna was once built beside a shadoof on Alföld. There are no untouchable places, everything is different from the way we would expect it, and this lends some sort of a lightness to the pictures – even if this is only a second thought in case we know the history of the places. 

The series by Lilla Szász entitled “Sunbathers” records local people sunbathing from Spring to Autumn by the side of Peter Paul Fortress in Saint Petersburg. People resting together-alone in the shade of the building, once operated as a prison, loaded with symbols of power. It is exactly the shade that makes the pictures to heavy; it is difficult not to look at the bodies which are opening themselves up without seeing them as vulnerable, however, it it is exactly the free will of the people seen on the pictures, and their self-consciousness through which the suspension of the dominant expectations concerning appearance in public spaces eventuates, and through which they create new expectations instead of them, approved by the community.

Jing Jing City is a luxury town not far from Beijing where most of the mansions are unfinished due to the improperly estimated investment, so the the place which had been developed in an artificial environment has became a nice example of un-plennability. Security guards and gardeners have occupied the empty, often construction-ready buildings; signs of life are detectable everywhere, however, not where we would expect it. Andi Schmied has left marks in the town by using materials found on the location. These marks have melted into the unchanging landscape with such a naturalness as all the other – first surprising – torsos, tools, and material; a coulisse to an unfinished story.

Re-formulated studio waste, found objects formed into memorial-maquettes, and furnished places which may be just as real as they are, in fact, not: on the photographs of Péter Puklus the appointed, planned, constructed character of places get to the forefront. In the intersection of collective and personal memory Puklus creates places with a past, which are familiar, still irretraceable.