The work of Spanish artist Lara Almarcegui, who is based in Rotterdam, often explores neglected or overlooked sites, carefully cataloguing and highlighting each location’s tendency toward entropy. Her projects have ranged from a guide to empty lots in and around Amsterdam to the display—in their raw form—of the materials used to construct the galleries in which she exhibits. In 2010, for her first solo exhibition in New York at Ludlow 38, Almarcegui surveyed the four-mile-long Flushing River in Queens, where she found that its exploitation had left a number of unused and ignored areas. Continued research culminated in a publication consisting of 12 photographs with concise descriptions outlining the history, present state, and future potential of those spaces. Most recently, Almarcegui represented Spain at the 55th Venice Biennale, where her work was composed of two parts, one tackling the physical space of the Spanish Pavilion in the Giardini, the other exploring an empty plot of land beside the island of Murano.
Why we love Lucy Orta and Studio Orta:
• Lara blew our minds as Spain’s representative to the 55th Venice Biennial, where she filled the interior of the exhibition space, a building constructed in 1922 by Javier de Luque, with massive piles of building materials similar to those used by workers during its construction
• Working at a time of widespread urban renewal in Europe, she has remained a champion of overlooked, forgotten sites — creating guides for the cities’ wastelands and even instigating their legal protection
• In her investigation of the abandoned Flushing River in Queens, she called attention to its misuse by the City of New York and real estate developers