Means Of Survival In Concrete Jungles
ALBERT VAN ABBEHUIS
Fabruary 18 – March 24, 2024
Opening February 18, 16.00 hrs
Special Day, March 17
The connection between largescale urbanity and ruthless growth is a theme that has fascinated Frank Havermans for decades.
How do individuals organize themselves in these regimented concretegray worlds and what are possible future developments in urbanism?
In this solo exhibition, Havermans uses installations and models, drawings, photographs and video to sketch an image that connects the smallscale with the largescale.
His interest in extreme urbanism was aroused after stays in fastgrowing metropolises such as São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong, Taipei (Taiwan), Shenzhen and one of China’s most rapidly growing cities Chongqing. The ruthless nature of the developments and the social impact it has on different populations is shocking. The difference in living standards is extreme and full of injustice. This type of society has dege- nerated into an Urban Jungle where the right of the strongest but mostly the right of the richest prevails.
Frank Havermans is guided primarily by his intuition and curiosity about alternatives to regulated societies. The fringed edges of urbanism and the creativity of residents which are forced to survive within the expansive mechanism and the challenges of social inequality are an important source of study for Havermans. He is fascinated by the pleasurable chaos and inventive imperfection opposed to the rational planning that is the modus operandi within contemporary architectural views.
He also explores the history and original character of the place. For example, in the creation of the per- formance film As Long as Trade Moves (2023), Fort Zeelandia in Taiwan plays a crucial role in shaping the central object that is transported through the city on a trolley. Works including Bang Bang (2016) deal with Asian megacities and how the ‘underclass’ of residents relate to them. Bang Bang are groups of strong men from Chongqing, varying in age, carrying a bamboo stick with a piece of rope at the end. Loudly talking, they wait crouched and grouped on a street corner for a job to carry goods around. Havermans hired them to transport one of his thinking models, an imaginary three-dimensional representation of the city Chongqing. Urban Fleet (2022) is more of an opposite thought provoking scenario, where the wealthy strata of the population begin to turn away from the world’s chaos and decide to settle on large floating structures.
Havermans immerses himself in unfamiliar megastructures, moves among the inhabitants and finally arrives at thinking models built on intuition, critical distance and belief in the creative power of survival. He creates models to reflect on society that consists of many stories simultaneously.