The 18-year-old Hamburg Triennial will be directed for the second time by Polish curator Krzysztof Candrowicz, who moved to Hamburg four years ago and set about transforming the it, bringing people and institutions together, and determined to make it more relevant to the viewing public. The 2015 edition was, he says, “The first holistic attempt to create the collaborative framework of the festival. Before, the museums were basically highlighting their own exhibitions, but there was no actual curatorial collective structure.” The determinedly political and environmentally-conscious theme this year was inspired by an amalgamation of many factors, he says, including spending a year “away from structured, mechanised and commercial reality”, travelling around Latin America, Nepal and India. “Breaking Point became, for me, a metaphor for rapid and sometimes unexpected transformation on a personal and global level.”
How do you capture a neighbourhood in the throes of transformation? How do you negotiate the complex tensions between old and new that lie at the heart of regeneration? These are some of the quandaries that prompted Gretje Treiber to begin Hamburg Barmbek Nord: Attempts at an Encounter, an intimate requiem for the disappearing features of her local community. Originally a small collection of farms, Barmbek-Nord was transformed into a working-class district shaped by industry in the early 1900s. The area became an expanding residential hub with many new blocks of flats designed with a striking red brick and equipped with green spaces and sports facilities, built during the 1920s, only to be destroyed during the Second World War and rebuilt 15 years later. Since 1980, few urban changes have taken place, leaving the neighbourhood “almost forgotten” by the rest of the city, according to Treiber.
“Many photographs remain forgotten in my archive, while others are destined to come back with a new life,” says Carlo Lombardi. It’s a sentiment that could apply to the subjects of his latest series, Dead Sea, which focuses on the diminishing number of loggerhead sea turtles in the Mediterranean, and which appears in the 2018 Hamburg Triennial Off section from 07 June as a result of an open call. The Italian’s ongoing work began in spring 2016, following a visit to the Museum of the Sea in Pescara, where he was fascinated by a skeleton pinned to the wall. The bones belonged to a loggerhead sea turtle, a species whose population is decreasing at an alarming rate due to climate change. Increasing sand temperatures, storms and rising sea levels vastly impact the turtles’ habitats and ability to breed, while fishing and pollution also contribute to the death toll.