The exhibition ‘Beton Belvedere’ by the French artist Cyprien Gaillard is accompanied by an ambitious project in public space. Gaillard’s site-specific project ‘Dunepark’ is the excavation of a World War II bunker currently buried in a hill overlooking the beach of Scheveningen and the neighbourhood of Duindorp.
This is an area already undergoing drastic transformation as the existing communities and industries are displaced to make way for new housing developments. Gaillard’s project comments obliquely on this process of gentrification and the way in which outmoded architecture is buried or hidden beneath new layers of urban development. This work, titled ‘Dunepark’ – a rough translation of its location – can be seen as the embodiment of the ‘Bunker Archeology’ carried out by the French cultural theorist Paul Virilio in his eponymous 1975 book and exhibition. For Gaillard, the physical process of excavating is a form of negative sculpting. He sees this submerged bunker as a buried readymade. With the help of large earth-moving equipment and volunteers of the Stichting Atlantikwall Museum Scheveningen, Gaillard will dig out this massive form to reveal it in all its brutalist glory, before recovering it once more.
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