No Excavation No Vacation

2018, installation, print on towels, wood, metal

On display at Locatie Z, The Hague, during Probe III – Open Studios, December 2018

No Excavation No Vacation originates from a one-week project in collaboration with Swimming Pool Gallery in Sofia, Bulgaria. With limited time available to gain experience and inspiration, I decided to do what a tourist would do in an unfamiliar city: go sightseeing. I found the Serdica excavation site, in the city center. The ruins hadn’t been in a very splendiferous condition when excavated in 2005, so a process of what one could call ‘reconstructive restauration’ followed. This has resulted in a strange supposed-to-be antique architecture, consisting mainly of modern building materials. On top of that, the site is vaulted by a hyper modern building that also houses an underground metro station, which has turned this ancient part of Sofia into an alien place that at its best resembles an empty swimming pool. I was fascinated by this odd place and I could see how it had been entrusted with the important job of putting Sofia, as brand new addition to the family of European capitals (2007), on the map as vibrant metropole with an ancient history. However, I felt that the forceful construction of the place into a touristic attraction, situated underground and staying mostly desolate outside rush hour, had turned it into merely a ‘somewhere’.

The photos that I took of the metro station have been turned into sculptures of merchandize: un-foldable beach chairs that are lined with beach towels that carry printed images of the underground cityscape on them. The texts on the towels are mostly free translations of slogans from travel agencies; slogans that could take you anywhere, brought to a place that could only be somewhere.

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