SAND by Paul Rosenbauer

SAND / Berlin / 2019

“I have been in contact with the construction industry throughout my professional life. I've worked as a landscaper, as a carpenter and I've been involved in trade fairs and classic building constructions. There I saw how many resources it takes to build something new. In trade show construction it's a tremendous waste of materials, complex structures end up in the garbage after a few days. And as soon as cement and reinforced concrete are used to build, it becomes extremely energy-intensive. In addition, huge amounts of sand are required. But since the normal, local sand is often not suitable for buildings, some of the sand has to be sucked up from the bottom of the ocean and then transported to the construction sites. Of course, we need new construction now and then, but much of what is built today is not needed. It is far too rarely carefully examined whether an existing building can be preserved, to avoid new construction.

In Brazil, I have seen some of the most extreme examples of an unsustainable construction industry. It's called the White Elephant - a huge stadium that FIFA had built for the World Cup. An enormous structure that was cut into an intact natural environment and is practically empty since the games. Seeing this had consequences for me as a football fan and as an artist. I boycotted the last World Cup and I decided to do an artwork, dedicated to the elements. That's how the idea for Sand & Water came about - with these paintings I want to reflect some of the beauty I see in nature and I hope to remind people about the significance she has for us.

Today, I am practically no longer involved in the construction branch. And when I am, it's projects with a more sustainable approach. For example, I landscaped the outside of a gallery in Friedrichshain. We only utilise materials that would otherwise be trashed, and we repair them instead of buying new ones. This seems to make sense not only for ecological reasons. It also creates a special aesthetic. If you do it right, it is an art form in itself. In Japan, for example, there is the concept of Kintsugi, artful fixing."

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