Archipelago-townInstant Ruins. A Topography of Spanish Profit

‘Modern Ruins, A Topography of Profit’ is a show currently on view at the Aedes Studio in Berlin that I strongly recommend.     The exhibition and catalogue by Julia Schulz-Dornburg are two reflec...

‘Modern Ruins, A Topography of Profit’ is a show currently on view at the Aedes Studio in Berlin that I strongly recommend.

The exhibition and catalogue by Julia Schulz-Dornburg are two reflections on a larger-scale project analyzing and documenting the terrifying impact of the Spanish real estate crisis on Spain’s landscape, which remains the rape victim of a surreal contemporary version of the old Gold Rush.It’s a Gold Rush in which leisure worlds are turned into ghost towns and euphoria for quick profit becomes a permanent nightmare.

The catalogue shows a collection of a dozen ‘instant ruins’ left on the Spanish territory. They are the result of abandoned speculative construction, whose dates of birth and death are frighteningly close—sometime less than five years—, a shameless fabrication of desires conveyed through the promotion of wealth and blissful retreat into glossy real estate marketing tools.

In the catalog preface Kristin Feireiss and Hans-Jürgen Commerell underline the disturbing beauty of the images shown, which draw the viewer inside the surreal landscape portrayed by way of their own sinister seductive power. Yet one can’t help but recall the title of one of Goya’s ‘black paintings’—The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters—and to note how Goya’s descendants now appear to be forming a country in a coma in which the bottom-up real estate disasters shaping the topography of Spanish profit mirror the similarly dreadful top-down members of the infamous Bilbao effect, namely, the Seville Parasol, City of Culture of Galicia, Centro Niemeyer in Asturias.

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