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LUCA FREI

1976, Lugano. Lives in Lund.


The elements that make up Frei’s work – graffiti, mirrored tables, found and invented chairs, constructed walls – are all a response to two pre-existing situations. One is the building of the old Tobacco Warehouse from which the piece takes its name. The other is Oda Projesi’s new book, produced for the Biennial.
Frei’s starting point was the ground floor space with its large loading door, wooden ceiling, columns and tiled floor. Emphasising these through his additions, he wants to create a kind of hybrid space, open to the surrounding neighbourhood while claiming its own integrity as a dynamic location whose purpose is still in flux. Oda Projesi’s book is exploded into three dimensions through the graffiti, a transgression of the public/private divide that also links the whole work to the idea of the squatter movement that often uses graffiti to declare occupation of a building.
The work establishes a place where the public and the private come together to create new possibility, something that mirrors Oda Projesi’s own working method. However, the construction of the work also relates to Frei’s research into the Swiss sociologist Albert Meister’s book La soi-disant utopie du centre beaubourg (The so-called utopia of the beaubourg centre) which refers to Paris’ main contemporary cultural venue. The book begins with the author discovering a method of creating big holes, whose content disappears. He thus creates a 70-storey alternative ‘beaubourg’ underneath the existing one and after a while small ‘beaubourgs’ begin to appear across Europe – in apartments, disused office spaces, factories etc. In these spaces there are libraries, places for meetings, living, working, eating and loving. Frei’s work here imagines that proposal realised, using the materials he has at hand in the city. The work is produced in collaboration with graffiti artists, Tunç ‘TURBO’ Dindaş - ‘S2K’, WYNE - ‘S2K’, ARİ ALPERT and #flypropaganda#.

Charles Esche


TOBACCO WAREHOUSE

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