Critics’ Picks

Untitled, 2005.

Untitled, 2005.


Marjetica Potrc

Galerie Nicolas Krupp
Erlenstrasse 15
June 27, 2013–July 9, 2005

It is not in the ideas of city planners and architects that Slovenian artist/architect Marjetica Potrc spots innovative building strategies, but rather in the provisional living concepts found in shantytowns growing uncontrolled on the periphery of cities around the globe, in ad-hoc solutions based on cheap materials, recycling, and creative maximization of limited territory. Her architectural recreations primarily revolve around questions of self-sufficiency and autonomy within the urban environment, while concepts borrowed from biology, like symbiosis and parasitism, also come into play. In her current show in Basel, Potrc focuses on India’s Barefoot College, an educational, health and community center at the edge of the desert in Rajasthan, built on local initiative by untrained architects. With its solar panels and system of pumps and water-tanks—functional features that are left exposed, becoming aesthetic elements—the building is not only self-sufficient but ecologically sound. By exploiting solar energy and rainwater, it simulates an organism carrying out processes comparable (metaphorically) to photosynthesis. Transplanted into the art context, its structures become anthropological documents illuminating issues of urban expansion versus basic human needs—for safety and privacy as much as for autonomy.