‘Beton Belvedere’, the first retrospective of Cyprien Gaillard’s work in the Netherlands (curated by Zoë Gray), groups together a selection of the artist’s works from the past four years that illustrate his interest in Modernist ruins and the destruction of post-War architecture. Along with the site-specific work Dunepark (2009), the exhibition is part of Stroom Den Haag’s ‘nu monument’ programme, which addresses different forms of historical remembrance in relation to monuments and buildings in the public sphere.
For Dunepark, Gaillard excavated a former Nazi communications bunker buried in the sand outside The Hague. The bunker had been built in early 1943, during the German occupation of the Netherlands, as part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall, a system of defence against an Allied invasion. After the war, the bunker was simply buried under the sand – covering it was a less expensive option than destroying it.