Refuge: Five Cities
Tuesday May 11, 2010 – Saturday July 17, 2010
Cooling Plant, Dubai, 2009
Opening reception: Tuesday, May 11th 7pm
Princen’s project originated as research for the IABR Rotterdam and explored the theme of “refuge urbanism.” This exhibition presents a series of works in which Princen observes contemporary urban transformation in Turkey and the Middle East: how Istanbul, Beirut, Amman, Cairo and Dubai have become laboratories for a proliferation of spaces and practices of refuge – spaces of extreme poverty on the one hand and wealth on the other, ranging from migrant worker camps to gated satellite cities in the desert.
Concurrently, a second exhibition with photographs from the same series is travelling to Istanbul, Amman, Beirut and Cairo, the cities where the photographs were taken. These exhibitions will predominantly focus on the relation to the direct surroundings and phenomena shaping these cities.
At Storefront, the work will be shown as an autonomous photographic series – removed from the context of the research-based IABR Biennale. The presentation will focus on the ambiguity between the documentation of real places and carefully constructed fictions. Through displaying the works at Storefront, removed from their context and history, the viewer is encouraged to make their own personal associations and interpretations. New understandings and fictionalized assimilations inferred from the images emerge. As Phillip Misselwitz and Can Altay write in a catalogue on his works “Princen presents his work in a way that mixes and further decontextualizes locations and sites, triggering unexpected conversations in which we discover distant and seemingly disconnected spaces and places entering new formal and material relations. The photographs do not force conclusions, but neither do they act to de-politicise, normalize or attempt to suppress a critical gaze. They afford us a moment of anticipation, a glimpse of space and the vocabulary of our cities to come.” Storefront’s exhibition will highlight the photographic works separated from the photographic pairings happening in the varied cities, encouraging this type of viewing.
The juxtaposition of these two exhibitions will further explore the relationship between photography and architecture as well as the relationship between the researcher and the photographer. As Misselwitz and Altay write of Princen’s subjects “ Rather than investigating the social, economic or political dynamics that have produced the space, Princen considers the conditions that have emerged with an interest in their spatial and formal qualities. Despite the extreme differences in the dynamics of spatial production, the emerging spatial units are surprisingly similar—at the very least, in their isolated nature and alienated relation to their surroundings.”
Bas Princen (Zeeland, Netherlands 1975) is an artist and photographer living and working in Rotterdam. His work focuses on the transformations of the urban landscape researching the possible future scenarios and outcomes by the use of photography.
Recent exhitbions include: Five Cities, Depo, Instanbul 2010; Invisible frontier, AUT, Insbruck 2008; Nature as Artifice, Kroller Muller Museum, Otterloo and Aperture Foundation, New York 2009; Spectacular City, Nai, Rotterdam, 2006; Talking Cities, Essen 2006; The Venice Bienale of Architecture 2004 and 2006; and Shrinking Cities, Archilab, Orleans 2004 and Berlin 2005.
In May 2004 He published a book about his work “Arfificial Arcadia” with 010 Publishers (Contriburors: Bart Lootsma, Wim Cuyvers, Lars Lerup, Dirk Symons, Jeff Dersen); in 2007 “Rotterdam” with Witte de With Publishers; in 2008 “Galleria Naturale” for Linea di Confine, Rubierra; and in 2009 “Five Cities Portfolio” with SUN Publishers.
In 2005 he was awarded a residency in Los Angeles with the Mak Schindler stipendium and in April 2004 he won the Charlotte Kohler Prize for promising young artists and architects in the Netherlands.