Martí Llorens, Beaches during the construction of the Olympic Village, 1988. Chromogenic print, 17.7 × 23.9 cm. Source: Arxiu Fotogràfic de Barcelona
City of Sand / David Bestué
Jun 10 – Oct 22, 2023
Fabra i Coats
Barcelona, Spain

A huge storm washes up tins and plastic from the past forty years onto the sand of the beach. The remnants of a mediaeval well, now in a construction sack, hold different vestiges that make it possible to discover the daily habits of people who were here long before we were. At a junction beneath the Ronda de Dalt ring road, piled in a corner, are large pieces of concrete that were once part of the Olympic Archery Field, designed by Enric Miralles and Carme Pinós for the Olympic Games. In the centre of Barcelona, a mill wheel embedded in the ground marks the highest spot of what was the Roman city. David Bestué considers this wheel an element that devours everything, crushing the city, turning it into sand.

For City of Sand, David Bestué proposes a shift in the way we look at the city of Barcelona. Understanding it as material and symbol, the artist contrasts the projected dream idea of city – ambitious urban projects in model form – with popular and counter imagery – in the shape of images in the press, revolts and cries that go against the grain, set out in newspapers, which become shared impressions in the collective subconscious of all those who inhabit the city. In a way, Bestué builds a contra-history out of what can be found on the fringes, using the scraps, remnants and debris.

Curated by Marta Sesé