“Irremediable (Study)” by Frederik E.
The exhibition ”Irremediable (Study)” is comprised of diverse, yet interconnected materials related to the so called ”Norrmalmsregleringen” or the “City Sanitation” — a vast and complex redevelopment project of Stockholm City, carried out in the time between 1950 and 1970. The lower part of Norrmalm had gradually decayed into a bedraggled space and, above all, unfitting to the new requirements of economic organization and intensified urbanization. Deemed out of step with the spatial dimensions of modernity, the city centre underwent a face-lift with several novelties being introduced: centered business communities, wider streets for traffic, expansions of subway network, spacious consumption facilities, and new pragmatic architecture adequate to the social, technological, and ideological principles of post-war architectural urbanism.
The exhibition contains a group of sculptural works and prints. An arrangement of elements collide: images and objects overlap one another – addressing in different ways, the transformations of a part of the city district’s, social, architectural, and cultural idiom. An exchange is initiated between the reconstructions and the archival images, carving a dialog between the modernist rhetoric of innovation with the different public and collective dimensions of history.
The foundation of the sculptural works share a common language: they are physical reconstructions of architectural motifs* from buildings demolished during the urban revitalization. The facade is here considered as a translator, or bridge, that connects the building with the environment and connects people with time, history, and culture. The reconstructed motifs, in this sense, act as tropes of memories, reflecting the buildings’ local identity and a part of the social life that no longer has a defined physical form in the new city district.
Significant changes in a city’s fabric, whether social, economic, commercial, or demographic, risk alter the culturally diverse nature of an area. Often, a logic of exclusion operates as a decisive force within a redevelopment project, which separates the district’s future from its past by erasing the specificity of an existing space in a way that raises questions about the city as a cultural entity that evolves historically and as a place of collective memory.
The project consequently tries to examine how a small part of Stockholm’s history can be retrieved and seen anew. The exhibition thus becomes the subject of meditation on some accounts of a bygone city district and the way in which architectural developments are coded in and affects a city’s structure and said collective memory.
*The motifs originate from facades at Norra Smedjegatan 30–32, Sergelgatan 1 and Vasagatan 6. The facade fragments are reconstructed through modelling, moulding and casting. This process was made possible with the help of sculptor Jacob Alrø, Stockholm City, and National Archives, whose documents formed the basis for the reconstructions.
The engine of Frederik E.’s artistic practice is based on an interest in how societal conceptions, expressions and conflicts are mirrored in the epochs of architectural production. With a fascination for the ways in which we make sense of our history through built legacy, he often looks at specific buildings and their relationship to the public realm, with the aim to reinterpret aesthetic narratives and understandings related to their tradition and idiom.
Drawing on certain transformations happening during the ”Norrmalmsregleringen”, Frederik E.’s current project have been to explore and physically reconstruct a small group of architectural motifs that got lost during this process. Composed of overlaps, sections and fragments, the current exhibition is build up of reconstructions and photographic materials, addressing in different ways, part of the city district’s social, architectural, and cultural transformations.