text by Bjorn Stern
“In 2007, EVOL was approached to create the design for a corridor at the Flamingo Beach Lotel. This infamous art-hotel was based in the Berlin suburb of Neukölln, a multi-cultural area containing one of Berlin’s most authentic but poorest neighbourhoods. Guests of the hotel, which was, in fact, a legalised squat, would pay virtually nothing for a room and in return were able to choose from spending a night inside a video installation, a deserted island, an all-encompassing chessboard or to sleep in the colour White.
EVOL’s signature style of architectural commentary achieved a new level with this project, where he had to approach a three-dimensional space that was both an installation, but also a functional transitory room. In the summer of 2008, the hotel was closed and the original installation was discarded and returned to surplus. Flamingo Beach - Later thus reappears as a memory of the original, now presented as a free-standing sculpture.
As a seminal work by the artist, this piece not only references EVOL’s personal relationship with the housing projects of Berlin, as well as his “street artist” persona, it also pays homage to a specific subculture that remains deeply emblematic of Berlin’s vanguard artistic community, the DIY ethos and political ideologies that have made Berlin the global epicentre of creative counter-culture. Unfortunately, the squats, artist communes, and “art for art’s sake” mentality that have all contributed to Berlin’s international notoriety as an artists’ refuge are slowly but surely disappearing, succumbing to tourist commoditisation or have been pushed to the periphery by the city’s inevitable gentrification. Thus, Flamingo Beach - Later, acts as a kind of interactive archival shrine, an altar that, through its particular history, embodies this era of avant-guarde artistic production and community-based creativity.
In addition, the artist’s selection of a typically drab and non-descript housing project contains its own array of political and sociological overtones. In a city once divided by politics, Soviet history and ideology remains visibly ingrained in the urban landscape through residential blocks such as the ones depicted here. These spaces, conspicuously devoid of personality or individualism, act as an ironic canvas upon which EVOL has undeniably asserted his own artistic vision, elevating the mundane to the awe-inspiring and providing the viewer with an inherently original and utterly refreshing perspective of the urban spaces we collectively inhabit.”