Kolding - press release
Gentrification or social renewal?
October 13 - November 25 2000
Opening Friday October 13 from 18-20
It is a great pleasure to present an exhibition with collages and
posters by Jakob Kolding.
The works in this show deal with the use and organisation of space
and place. I am interested in different ways of planning, building
and living in cities and perhaps especially the well known European
suburbs of the 60's. These suburbs are in many ways examples of architects
ideas of the perfect city more or less based on the work of major
Modern architects like Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus people. The public
idea of these areas is often limited to a notion of massive social
problems which are thought to rise because of bad housing and strict
planning. This view ignores both many of the better aspects of the
suburban areas and the entire social, economic and political context.
Such ideas of specific housing areas as isolated from their context
too often results in ignorant ideas of social renewal consisting of
a few colours and a public sculpture or a mural in happy colours.
Of course the suburbs are after all pretty varied and it is difficult
to talk about them as a whole and I do find that there are a lot of
good ideas and principles at work in some of the planning and that
it did in fact work out quite well in many areas, but some problems
arise - for example from the inability to change. Since most of the
suburbs where planned and build within very few years everything is
more or less within the same plan and everything and everyone is thought
to be already included in this plan (from defined places to meet over
green areas to leisure time activities). Another important part of
the works in this show is this idea of doing something which is supposed
to include everyone but which will by definition exclude someone else.
This process is not in any way specifically related to the suburbs
but can for instance be seen at the moment in Vesterbro and the harbour
area of Copenhagen. Both areas going through heavy renewal supposed
to be for the public good (everyone) and a lot of money is invested
under this pretext (they are however spent on providing larger apartments
for middle class families and business offices which has resulted
in housing shortage and rent increases). As I am not interested in
architecture as a strictly physical thing another important part of
the works are different references to popular culture and everyday
life. For instance music and football (soccer) both of which of course
are a big part of many peoples private and social life. I am, to put
it very short, interested in their social meaning and significance
but especially concerning the music there is also other reasons for
including the references. Obviously there is a similarity in the whole
process of doing collages and the techniques of electronic music and
hip hop (sampling, remixing, scratching etc.) but also there is a
very formal likeness between minimal electronic music and the architecture
of the suburbs (both being based on rather simple structures with
just a few details making all the difference). The same could be said
of many minimal art works of the 601s which also shares another aspect
with the architecture mentioned. Both in many ways tried to get rid
of the Modernist idea of the isolated art object and tried to include
the context as part of the work but at the same time they kind of
ended up as the ultimate Modern monument.
Jakob Kolding, October 2000
We welcome you in the gallery.