Transitional Places: Lara Almarcegui Represented Spain At The 2013 Venice Biennale

Lara Almarcegui
Lara Almarcegui

Spain‘s sole representative at 2013’s 55th Venice Biennale (1st June – 24th November) was artist Lara Almarcegui. Having been selected by curator Octavio Zaya, Almarcegui transformed the Spanish Pavilion into an assortment of rubble and other found objects from wastelands as an examination of the process of urban transformation.

Lara Almarcergui in 2012 © CAM2M1/WikiCommons
After 2011’s successful L’Inadeguato, Lo Inadecuado, The Inadequate exhibition, the Spanish Pavilion returns, to be held once again within the Giardini della Biennale venue. Presenting her self-titled exhibition, Lara Almarcegui, examines the process of urban transformation as a result of economic, political and social change. Focusing upon wastelands, modern ruins within cities, Almercegui attempts to bring attention to these urban spaces that often escape our awareness, her reasoning being that:

‘Wastelands are important because they are the only places in the city that remain without definition. Untouched by design, everything that takes places in them happens by chance and not according to a plan … I see great value in this lack of a design, and that is why I would like to ‘preserve’ these wastelands in my works..’

Octavio Zaya, who was behind the selection of Almarcegui as Spain’s 2013 biennale representative, spoke about the reasons behind his choice, stating:

‘ … in deconstructing buildings and other landmarks and constructions, Almarcegui unravels our understanding of inhabiting, by showing the inarticulate, bare materials of which the buildings are made, or uncovering the products of recycling that they use and that they themselves, in turn, end up becoming, to get us closer to the inherently entropic nature of civilization. Ultimately, these works connect the outdoors with the indoors, and the inside with its awareness of itself, in a dialectical process of knowledge.’

Similar to her exhibition at the Biennale, Almarcegui’s previous works have consisted of a number of large-scale installations, focusing on documenting abandoned areas as a way of preservation. In 2010’s Bauschutt Hauptraum Secession – her first solo show in Vienna – Almarcegui brought together heaps of rubble collected from the grounds of the former Nordbahnhof railway station, and arranged them into piles within the Secession gallery’s main hall. While at the 2006 Sao Paulo Biennale, she presented a chart of figures that displayed the total amount of construction materials used within the city, as a way of showing what holds it all together. Almarcegui also worked upon the restoration of a market hall awaiting demolition in her native Spain, while other projects have seen her exhibiting in cities such as France, Portugal, Sweden and The Netherlands (where she currently resides).

Lara Almarcegui will also presented work at the MUSAC, (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León) in 2013, from 19 January – 13 October.

2013 Spanish Pavilion © angelo greco/Flickr

2013 Spain Team

Curator: Octavio Zaya

Artist: Lara Almarcegui

Venue: Pavilion at Giardini

About The Culture Trip’s Venice Biennale Project

The 55th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale will take place from 1 June – 24 November. The Culture Trip’s Venice Biennale Series is an article series leading up to the start of the exhibition. With 88 countries participating in this year’s Biennale — 10 of them for the first time — and 150 artists from 37 countries, our coverage over the next couple of months will highlight a selection of the National Pavilions that will be participating in the 2013 edition of the Venice Biennale. Watch this space for our daily Venice Biennale updates or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

By Laurence Gardner

Updated January 2016 by Cristina Tomàs White