One unusual feature of Bogotá, to these European eyes anyway, is its many tiny, privately run car parks. Tucked into vacant lots between buildings, even in the centre of downtown, they’re either an interesting example of urban ingenuity, or a sad sign of the heaving city’s deep car dependency, despite its luxuriously wide boulevards.
I mistook the entrance to this exhibition for yet another parqueadero, so convincing is the illusion. But in fact, Estudio Altiplano and Alejandro Martín Maldonado have reimagined the Espacio Odeón - a fascinating multi-level building that was once a theatre, but is now stripped back to its concrete skeleton - as a playful recreation of different spaces well known to any Bogotá resident.
On the ground floor, there’s that initially convincing parking garage, complete with hand-painted exit sign. Up the stairs, a cute winter garden and a swimming pool (a bit less convincing than Elmgreen & Dragset’s effort at Whitechapel Gallery last year - but a lot more playful). There’s a mini-football pitch, too.
These jokey spaces are a great showcase for the Odeón building itself. It was a well-tended theatre in downtown Bogotá, destroyed in the Bogotazo riots of 1947, along with so many other of the city’s important buildings, then rebuilt as an art foundation. Now it has the ultimate signifier of gentrification: a craft beer place next door.
The show was great and the beer was good.
Odeón o de la contingencia is at Espacio Odeón (Bogotá). 5 December 2018 – 12 Feb 2019