Lara Almarcegui
Spain, 1972
After earning a degree in Fine Arts in Cuenca, Lara Almarcegui moved to Amsterdam to continue her studies at De Ateliers. There, with a workspace, a residence place and a maintenance grant, she took advantage of the opportunity to spend two years learning from teachers like Angela Bulloch and Fiona Tan. Since the late 1990s she has lived in Rotterdam, a city she was drawn to because of its status as the capital of contemporary architecture in the Netherlands. Her work challenges urbanism by focusing on elements of the city like ruins and wastelands that are overlooked by local governments and in architectural practice. Early in her career she was primarily interested in practices related to social activism: the restoration of a market in San Sebastián that was about to be demolished, and projects involving community gardens, such as Un café al aire libre para los hortelanos. Asociación de huertas Van Houten, Weesp, Amsterdam, verano 2003. Since the mid-2000s, her projects have gradually become more stripped-down formally and have focused on the public presentation of investigations carried out by applying rigorous analytical methods to apparently peripheral aspects of the urban order. Unbuilt places, building materials, the layers of a city that are abandoned as it grows, and what lies beneath the ground are some of the issues she has addressed in works like Materiales de construcción de la ciudad de São Paulo (2006) and an intervention involving a wasteland on the banks of the Ebro River in Zaragoza, which she has managed to keep protected forever, with the agreement of public institutions. Lara Almarcegui is one of Spain’s most prominent artists on the international scene. Her guides to modern ruins in Holland and Burgundy and urban wastelands in London and São Paulo, along with works involving mountains of rubble in Vienna and Dijon, have earned her a place at the most important international contemporary art events of the last decade. In 2013, after solo exhibitions at the CA2M in Móstoles (2012) and MUSAC in León (2013), she was selected by a committee of experts to present her work at the Spanish Pavilion for the Venice Biennale.
Manuel Segade