Dates: 25-27 September 2009
Place: Bergstraat and Korsjespoortsteeg, Amsterdams Historisch Museum –Amsterdam
Artists: Laurence Aëgerter, Mounira Al Solh, Alexis Blake, Egle Budvytyte, Francesca Grilli, Achim Lengerer, Ahmet Ögüt, Niels Vis, Meiro Koizumi.
Credits image: Office at Bergstraat 16
“A Second Exchange” is the three-day public presentation that concluded RED A.i.R. | Redlight Art Amsterdam, an artists-in-residence program in former brothels in the centre of Amsterdam. The presentation brought together the works developed by the eight resident artists during their residency and at the same time – via the two public discussions on 26 and 27 September - offered the opportunity for reflection on the role of art in processes of urban transformation.
“A Second Exchange” takes its inspiration from the “Role Exchange”, a performance developed by the artist Marina Abramovic in 1976 in the red light district of Amsterdam in which she swapped places with a prostitute. After more than thirty years artists are behind the windows again, though in very different circumstances. While in Abramovic’s case, the project stemmed from the artist’s personal interests in the space of the brothels and the world of prostitution, this time artists are invited to occupy the vacant brothels as part of the gentrification initiated by the city planners to replace undesirable elements of the sex industry. Within these conditions, the government support of Art in Redlight Art Amsterdam inevitably raises the question of what the artists are expected to give in return. In short, what is the rate of this second exchange?
By accepting the invitation of the Municipality to occupy the former brothels at Bergstraat and Korsjespoortsteeg, near Spuistraat and Singel, the intention of the artists and the curator was to accept the challenge to respond to those questions and to define the terms of this new exchange. The eight individual works and the content of the public talks reflect the complexity of this process.
Laurence Aëgerter’s speculations on the possible alternative futures of her studio space are now collected into a series of photographs, posters and a database, which is a display of the leftovers from the transformations of her studio “Opening Soon/Opening Now”. In the works in progress “A Double Burger and Two Metamorphoses” and “One or Two Invasions by Higher-Income Groups”, Mounira Al Solh performs, respectively, a fictional experiment about her limits as a human being and reflects on her position as an artist taking part in the gentrification process. Alexis Blake’s “The hole is greater than the sum of its parts”, is an installation based on recent conversations Blake had with a philosopher who used rational choice and game theory to theorize Blake’s position as an artist in the residency and her choice to choose choice as her topic of inquiry. Inspired by Parkour, Egle Budvytyte's “Leap” is a fictional film on the use of architecture “to jump, to stretch, to hide”. The history of Francesca Grilli’s studio space has become the inspiration for “Bergstraat 16”, which is a funeral monument for Truus, a prostitute murdered in 1959 at this address. In “Hold on, I, too, am drifting”, actor Kevin Cregan enacts a new story written by Achim Lengerer, based on his personal annotations and found text from literary works. An incident reported in a newspaper article in Turkey provides inspiration for Ahmet Ögüt’s installation “A Love Story”, which underlines the topic of love and desperation in an alienated world of object exchange. In his new works, Niels Vis continues with the investigation of modernist architecture through a series of photographs and research material and questions the concept of transparency on an architectural, social and personal level.
RED A.i.R., artists-in-residence program in the red light disctrict, is curated by Angela Serino for Redlight Art Amsterdam, which is organized by City of Amsterdam, DeKey/Principaal, SMBA and Kunstenaars&CO.
The public talks “Redesigning the city” and “The Function of Art” are curated by Angela Serino in collaboration with Vesna Madzoski.
The project was financially supported by: City of Amsterdam, DeKey/Principaal, Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst, Fonds BKVB, Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds, Amsterdam Historisch Museum, Goethe Institute, Italian Cultural Institute.
Download the programme poster here >
“Notes on the project Redlight Art Amsterdam”, article in the special issue "Re-Making a Landscape of Prostitution: The Amsterdam Red Light District" in the journal “City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action”, 2012 >
“Living with the girls”, a booklet with excerpts from the interviews with the local residents realized by Angela Serino >