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Jakob 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.

Nicolai Wallner