Skip navigation.


Occupied Plots, Abandoned Futures. Twelve (Former) Real Estate Opportunities

12 silver gelatin B&W photographs, framed
28 x 35 cm (x12), framed: 62,5 cm x 51,5 cm (x12)
Edition 3/6 (+2 A.P.)
Inv. Nr. 156

Born in 1962 in Copenhagen, Denmark
Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, USA

Since the early 1990s, Joachim Koester has been working at the crossroads between documentary and fiction, wandering among various political, historical or art-related narratives that he rediscovers and subtly rearticulates. In his film or photographic projects, he focuses on anecdotes and personalities always related to utopian experiments or failed attempts, such as sectarian or anarchic experiences, abandoned sites, and vanished explorers. He endeavours to unravel and re-enact the underlying stories of these various episodes, and forge “his own ‘ghost-hunting’ of subjects,” as critic Hal Foster says. In some of his works, he reclaims parts of art history by remaking photographs or films – Anna Karina or Week-end by Jean-Luc Godard for instance – as “a strategy to conjure up the past and to fictionalize the present,” states art historian Paolo Magagnoli.

Occupied Plots, Abandoned Futures. Twelve (Former) Real Estate Opportunities follows in the footsteps of conceptual photographer Ed Ruscha and his famous artist’s book Real Estate Opportunities (1970), in which a series of black-and-white photographs map urban latent “opportunities,” i.e. empty allotments for sale, throughout the city of Los Angeles. Borrowing from Ruscha’s codified aesthetics, Koester re-photographs exactly the same locations, which underwent major changes, and thus relate to what the artist calls the “archaeology of abandoned futures.” Where Ruscha’s pictures showed potentiality, Koester’s update gains a new pessimistic reading, especially in the context of the mortgage crisis. This series extends an earlier work of the Danish artist, entitled histories (2003-2005), which mirrors seminal photographs by other conceptual artists – such as Robert Smithson, Robert Adams, Bernd and Hilla Becher or Gordon Matta-Clark – with their present re-enactment. This work deals more generally with historicization, reconstruction and representation, in a tangible spirit of nostalgia.