Tuesday, May 24

Las Cigarreras and La Lonja, spaces for memory

As a result, Its archive brings together 120 centers in 60 cities in 16 European countries, including Las Cigarreras and the exhibition hall at the Lonja de Alicante. This project now sees the light under the motto These ruins that you (don’t) see are a promise, which is exhibited in the old Tabacalera in Madrid (until April 4), as a reflective proposal on memory.

The work is shown in Tabacalera Madrid, under the title These ruins that you (don’t) see are a promise


A factory, a slaughterhouse, a power station, a railway station or a market are some of the buildings recovered as architectural vestiges of industrial facilities that no longer exist as such, but have been transformed to preserve their memory over time.

In the case of the Cigarreras and the Lonja, it was in 2017 when Conde visited Alicante to take the series of photographs. “When Las Cigarreras recovers as a cultural center and begins to be active, it achieves a very clear impact on the neighborhood in which it is located”, aim.

Conde highlights that there are different recovery models. In some cases “There is hardly any intervention, as in Tabacalera Madrid”, while others undergo a very radical intervention. And the Cigarreras would be in this second model. «The interior rooms are cubes, they are very adapted to the exhibition model or to the celebration of concerts; externally the memory of what they were is clearly preserved, but the interior is a contemporary intervention ».

Façade of the Lonja, photographed by Jorge Conde. | JORGE CONDE

One of the parts that interested him the most Jorge Conde was the Dryer. “I’m very interested in it because you can imagine the previous uses of the building and what it would be like physically.”

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Las Cigarreras appear in the exhibition within a video installation “where images are projected on screens embedded in the old Tabacalera toilets.” La Lonja is part of the project, but it has not been included in this exhibition.

For Conde, “it is very important that the rehabilitation of the building, the uses and the new functions are adequate and make sense in that location.” In his opinion, the problem is that “The architectural transformation project is not always accompanied by a clear and appropriate cultural policy for that container and the environment”. The photographer recalls that when the 2008 crisis hit, many of these spaces “have to be reinvented or closed.” Now, with the pandemic “we will see what happens, although I suspect the same will happen.”

The exhibition, which precisely aims to reflect on what will happen to these art containers in a time of crisis, is structured as a sensory experience with installations that combine architectural elements, photographs, documentation, videos made today, quotes and evocative texts , with an atmosphere of sounds recorded by the artist in those spaces.

The artistic project has received grants from the Ministry of Culture, the Generalitat of Catalonia, the Royal Academy of Spain in Rome – “where I worked on the Italian case” – and the Vegap. “I was traveling through the different cities to do field work to take photographs, gather information and even record the original sounds of each environment.”

This adventure also has an alarming effect, “So that the visitor becomes aware that this industrial heritage can be lost.”

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