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HAPPENINGText: Gudrun Rau

Once a year the CCCB at Barcelona is showing an exhibition with young and upcoming artists from all over the world. This year’s subject is “Babylon“, here construed as the artists’ view on today’s or tomorrow’s megacities. The biblical word “Babel” evokes dark associations of hubris and punishment of mankind while the town at the present day reminds of war and destruction.

Bac! Festival 2007

When entering the inner courtyard of the CCCB, these rather apocalyptic feelings are reinforced by the prison-like installation that visitors have to pass in order go down to the entrance of the museum, that lies in the basement. Although this installation is belonging to a different exhibition, it is still dovetailing with the obscureness of the “Babylon”-show that is very low-keyed, since floor, walls and ceilings have been painted black.

Bac! Festival 2007
Michael Wolf, Architecture of Density #12, 2003

But there are bright spots in the darkness: The first section of the exhibition is dedicated to photography and those pictures are impressing and disturbing at the same time. Michael Wolf – who also contributed the key-visual to the bac-exhibition – is exhibiting photos from his series “Architecture of Density”. They are showing Hongkong apartment-blocks, seen from far, in a lunar landscape, or seen from medium distance as a structure of balconies, windows and scaffolds. Their dimensions seem grotesque and inhuman. But when you get nearer and observe the small windows and balconies carefully you notice interferences, caused by the human beings living in there.

There are also beautiful, almost graphical photos by Mikel Rosón, showing corridors and other public spaces whose main purpose is transit.

Bac! Festival 2007
Gosia Hejnat, Plakatomania, 2006

Speaking of corridors, in the next one, the main artwork are murals – the city’s most suitable art form. Berlin based artist Gosia Hejnat has painted over posters on advertising pillars and billboards, changing their sense. She cut through the layers and transferred them to the museum walls.

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