VERS LA TERRE DE POURQUOI

VERS LA TERRE DE POURQUOI
Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxemburg. 2021
This project is located in the Luxemburguish Esch-Sur-Alzette's train station. It proposes a new lecture on the wall adjacent to the city's bus station docks. We used a quote by the local writer Jean Portante, aiming to give a new meaning to the spot through color and typography's geometric elements.
We took out the line "VERS LA TERRE DU POURQUOI" (heading to the land of why) from its original context, giving it as many meanings as people interact with it.
CONTEXT
Esch-Sur-Alzette is the largest city in Luxembourg with 35.000 inhabitants that include more than one hundred nationalities.
The city stands out for its industrial past, which has caused difficulties in urban planning due to abandoned industrial land.
KUFA’S URBAN ART fest aims to improve cohesion, making the inhabitants work together on the same project by creating a collection of urban artworks and, thus, putting together an open-air museum that offers connections to the entire city. On the one hand, it is an artistic and tourism tool. On the other, it can respond to linking the different parts of a city with each other and with the center.

We understand the bus station we are working on as a place of meetings, crossroads, and farewells.
It is a place where no one stays, but everyone is, a place that belongs to no one but everyone.
For this reason and after the dynamics carried out with the citizens, we aim to achieve a change of perception of the site and convert the lost waiting time at the station into a more habitable space.
EL POEMA
Jean Portante is a Luxembourgish poet, translator, novelist, and journalist, that serves as a source of inspiration for our proposal. We’ve looked for a good verse for the spot, considering that it is a monotonous bus station.
We’ve chosen this writer, as he is one of the best promoters of Luxembourgish literature worldwide.
Since 1980, Portante has explored issues related to identity, from memory to oblivion, in various literary genres, especially poetry, novels, drama, and essays. His literary style continues to evolve, marked by solid intertextuality, providing access to new interpretations.
We search among the verses written in French and translated into many languages to find the right message.

We have been inspired by the poem “El Fabricante de Sur” to carry out this artistic intervention.
In it, the poet narrates the loss of inspiration and how to find it again. For this, he builds a multiverse, making use of his characteristic imagery. He guides us through a parallel world, where he presents several allegorical figures about the life and death of creation to end up witnessing that light is given to us by art, that means, the word.
INFORMACIÓN Y CRÉDITOS
  • Size of the wall: 161 m width x 4 height
  • Plastic paint and enamel on prefab concrete and steel
  • Made during Kufa's Urban Art Fest, organized by Kulturfabrik
  • Thanks to Renné Penning, Fred Entringer, Maëlle Lepetit and all the team at Kulturfabrik for their commitment to promote culture all over the city of Esch
  • Execution team: Irene García
  • Photos by Boa Mistura


UTOPIE

UTOPIE
Halle Neustadt, Germany
Halle-Neustadt was born as a self-suficient solution for satisfying all the needings of the new working class. It was not conceived to be a utopia itself, but it followed some utopic socialism system guidelines. Nevertheless, the system’s deep flaws reflect that utopias may work theoretically. But in a panoramic view, they depend on many circumstances capable of unbalance any delicately designed plan.

The word “UTOPIE” speaks about the intention to guarantee all the commodities to maximize productivity. It reflects the city’s identity, which is currently building a sustainable future, not forgetting its roots.
THE CITY
Halle is a city located in Sajonia-Anhalt state, on the banks of the Saale river. It was part of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) between 1949 and 1990.
In 1958, the GDR socialist government developed a plan to increase chemical production in the area. For this purpose, they began the integral project for building Halle-Neustadt, the “chemical workers socialist city.”

The architect Richard Paulick, a son of the Bauhaus where he worked closely with Walter Gropius, was hired to design the project.
SOCIALIST URBAN PLANNING
The Halle-Neustadt urban planning model is a close relative of the utopic socialism by Owen, Fourier, or Cabet, which was later rethought by Le Corbusier and developed by architecture schools, like the Bauhaus.

The city is composed of carefully arranged, enormous prefab concrete beehives (like Block 10, the largest housing complex in Germany). A new town, autonomous, built out of nothing, design to hosting more than 90.000 inhabitants.

Nevertheless, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 led to a dramatic increase in unemployment. Halle became a shrinking city, reducing its population to more than a half in just two decades.
THE SPACE
The space chosen by Freiraum Gallerie is based on the strategy thought by a committee made up of artists, architects, and urban planners from the city. It aims to connect two significant city areas through the intervention on the ramp access to Neustadter Passage. For this purpose, they carry out several surveys to get some insight and different opinions from the Halle Neustadt neighbors. They shared the results with us to develop the concept design. We aimed to make a complete intervention on the area, focusing primarily on the ramp, an essential element of this complex space.
APPROACH
We approach such a complex space by unfolding it, turning it into a more simple, flat, and abstract canvas. Then, we write three times the word “UTOPIE” and place it on the canvas. The word rotates as the canvas unfolds. We propose to apply a geometric transparency effect, which chromatic interactions refer to some of the city’s significant works of public art, such as the murals by Josep Renau or the masonry walls of many of the block’s façades. Once the word is placed on the canvas, we fold it back, creating a composition of typographic elements. The work turns almost abstract, unreadable but acts as a new skin by wrapping the space uniformly, flattening it, and generating new rhythmic patterns resulting from the different typography anatomy parts. The painting slightly changes when walking up and down the ramp giving access to the Neüstadter Passage.
INFORMACIÓN Y CRÉDITOS

  • 610 m2 intervention
  • Plastic paint over cement and water based poli urethane on concrete
  • It is part of the Wall and Space project, commissioned and produced by Freiraum Gallerie, with support from the City of Halle
  • Thanks to all the Freiraum Gallerie crew, especially to Danilo Halle, Philip, Ina
  • Execution team: Irene García, Javier Ballesteros, Jan Lütgert
  • Studio support: Alba Sánchez, Clara González
  • Photos by Boa Mistura, Danilo Halle and Readys


RENCONTRE

RENCONTRE
Paris, France. 2020
This intervention at Place Charles de Monselet in the 19th arrondissement of Paris belongs to the art residency program Bien-Venue, carried out by Le CentQuatre cultural center.

The objective is to develop public and participatory art and cultural programs in the 19th arrondissement, a decentralized district with less priority for the administration.

We write the word “Rencontre” (meeting) because it represents squares as elements of social cohesion and reflects a neighborhood whose main characteristic is its socio-cultural diversity.

Besides, the unique temporal context in which we executed the work strengthens the chosen word. We traveled to Paris amidst a global pandemic, with rigorous health controls which did not allow us to make the participatory process. As a result, only a few neighbors and students collaborated, bringing out the social need for working together to overcome these situations.
CONTEXT
Paris' 19th district is located on the northeast side of the city. It is a quiet residential area. Its main feature is the multicultural side, with French, Portuguese, and North Africans living together.

Charles de Monselet square is in the merge of Boulevard D'Algerie and Boulevard Sérurier. The chosen wall faces the plaza's east side and is highly visible from the Avenue de la Porte du Pré Saint-Gervais and the Robert-Debré child Hospital.

This small square is mainly a crossing point for the neighbors who catch the tram next to the square. However, it also represents a
meeting point for different generations. Children use the playground; youngsters hang out on the afternoons, and elder plays pétanque.
DESIGN AND PARTICIPATION
We carry out the design process by giving workshops with different neighbor collectives. For example, in the schools Romainville and Eugénie Cotton, we conducted surveys and drawing activities. On the other hand, we proposed a neighbor meeting at the L'Accorderie, where we had an exciting discussion and brainstorming looking for words.

We found the word RENCONTRE to portray the time and place in which the work is executed.
We write the word three times to create chromatic and geometric rhythms along the wall.
INFORMACIÓN Y CRÉDITOS
  • 51 m width x 3 m height intervention
  • Plastic paint and waterbased enamel on limestone and metal wall
  • Project developed in the frame of Bien-Venue Art residencies by Le Centquatre Cultural Center
  • Thanks to all the 19th arrondisement neighbors and the students from Romainville and Eugéne Cotton schools, for taking part on the proect
  • Thanks to José Manuel Gonçálves for trusting in us
  • Thanks to Clara Chalou, Delphine Marcadet, Sonia Khiter, Elsa Lemesle and Celia for their neat production
  • To Anne-Flore Cabanis and Jann Vormann for their amazing company
  • Studio support: Maria Vadell and Alba Sánchez
  • Execution team: María Corrales and Irene García
  • Photography by Boa Mistura and Quentin Chevrier


REFUGIO

REFUGIO
Madrid, España. 2020
A shelter is a place to look for protection and security, a refuge from outside’s hostility.
We propose to transform this forgotten transit area by changing its meaning using color and typography.
The word REFUGIO (SHELTER) surrounds the crossing pedestrians under the shadow of this bus station on their way to the plaza above.
CONTEXT
We deal with a very complex space made up of many walls, windows, and a ceiling that darkens the entire area.
This civil engineer structure also has several pillars and beams, which take away any trace of identity from the space. But at the same time, they are the differential aspect from any other type of workspace.
CONCEPT
We work by tripling the word "REFUGIO" and overlapping its three colors. The transparency combinations create six color shades that rhythmically repeat thanks to the vertical proportions of Sudtipos type foundry's Fixture typeface.

The rhythm is broken by each characters' singularities, such as the R leg, the G crossbar, or the F or E arms.
APPROACH
We intend to create an abstract color space that comes straight from something specific as a word. Then, we try to wrap and clean the station for the pedestrians to immerse in the work. For this purpose, we unfold the structure and omit the tridimensionality, reducing it to a single flat canvas where we write the word. Then we "fold it" back again. When analyzed separately, the ceiling and the walls become one abstract skin based on color stripes which provide light and color to the area. By working with the unfolded architecture, we can work on walls and ceiling by applying the word literally: to create a shelter using the word shelter.
INFORMATION AND CREDITS

  • Total intervention: approximately 2.250 m2
  • Plastic paint on concrete and granite tiles
  • Project developed thanks to Concejalía de Desarrollo Urbano Sostenible and Distrito Centro de Ayuntamiento de Fuenlabrada
  • Thanks to Marta Nieto Varela and Eva María Vega Sevilla for trusting in our work
  • Studio support: María Corrales
  • Execution team: Irene García, Javier Ballesteros, Mark Zimmerman, Pablo Velasco, Darío Ariso and Miguel Cabrales
  • photography by Boa Mistura


AVENIR

AVENIR
Bouillargues, France
This mural belongs to the “Harmonies” series. It is in Bouillargues, a small town at the Southeast of Nimes, Francia. “Avenir” represents the future which the young generations from this public high school represent to the town. As well as the initiative by all the educational team for making alternative activities that empower and encourage the youngsters.
INICIATIVE AND DESIGN
On January the 5th, 2020, we received an email from Dolores Corzo, the Spanish course teacher at Les Fontaines School in Bouillargues, a small village close to the city of Nimes, in France.

The text was a simple Spanish composition exercise in which they asked us to “come and decorate the high school.”

A year after our positive reply, we found ourselves painting a mural at the school’s main entrance in which the 30 3éme LCE Spanish students who wrote the email took part in the concept design.

We made a concept design workshop where we taught how to draw letters and look for appropriate words for the mural. This way, they got to understand all the work behind the mural.

As a result of the workshop, we chose the word AVENIR (future), and then we designed it as a part of the “Harmonies series.” Finally, we set a transparency effect on the letters creating complex color harmonies.
INFORMATION AND CREDITS

  • Mural size approximate: 18 m2
  • Plastic paint on cement
  • Thanks to all the students and educational team from the Les Fontaines Middle School for the warm welcome, specially to Dolores Corzo, for her amazing initiative
  • Executuon team: Irene García, María Corrales
  • Photos by Boa Mistura