TOFUD # Shenzhen | Urban Villages

Cycling the city


by Paula Orrell

The realm of the everyday is in fact the most alive, vivid and dynamic terrain for invention and innovation. The street, the urban landscape becomes an immediate space where Frank Havermans occupies his engagement. Dominating powers execute their orders through modern urban planning and architectural forms, the dominated or marginalised communities respond with interventions and occupation.

This is a globalised phenomenon, but it would seem a dominant preoccupation of Chinese urban planning. The cities are a mirror of a sci-fi film set; utopias in construct, corrupt with land reclamation and hanker after the modernist ideal. Where do these building want to reach to, where do they want to transcend to. What is the future of land occupation in China? 

Paula Orrell, Primoz Novak, Frank Havermans, Thomas Adebahr / lecture OCAT 241011

year: 2011
location: Shenzhen, China
dimension: 1400 x 550 x 480 cm
material: found construction plywood and square timber, steel cables
artist in residence: 6th OCAT international art residency, August 16 – November 11
exhibition: Future Relevance, parallel programme as part of the 2011 Shenzhen and Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture, November 11, 2011 – Januari 8, 2012
venue: OCAT
curator: Paula Orrell
artists: Frank Havermans, Nika Oblak & Primoz Novak (Slovenia), Thomas Adebahr (Germany)
special thanks to: Hang Zhuan, Wang Jing
photography: © Studio Frank Havermans

supporterd by: the Mondrian Fund, SICA, OCAT

4th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture Shenzhen 2011


The unique forms of installations presented by Frank Havermans consider the language of architecture, construction and urbanism. Formed through his observations and experience of urbanism in Shenzhen and greater area.  He builds new urban models made by found and recycled materials and combines them in a new spatial installation TOFUD Shenzhen B10. This installation is based on the linear stretched urban city structure of Shenzhen in contrast with the highly dense urban villages coexisting in this city as another system within a system. Urban spaces turn into battlefields between different social groups that fight for their specific ideals of society. However, there is another language apparent in the work. The forms are reflective of engineering heritage. Clamped onto the outside of a building as temporary sculpture or wedged between two tress, a place of rest and contemplation. The sculptural language is a transfusion of this history and design in construction. Objects that once had a use but become a monument of an era.

TOFUD #Amsterdam Zuidas Studio Frank Havermans
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