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Abwesenheit – Absence 2022


Customs Intervention / Belgium – Germany

Abwesenheit – Absence 2022 • Customs Intervention / Belgium – Germany

Intervention of the former Belgian Customs located in Ostbelgien border with Germany.

Made thanks to the invitation of the Kunst und kultur in Kopchen am grenzübergang belgien und deutschland. KUKUK A.C. (Art and culture in Kopchen, Civil Association).

Various interpretations are proposed in the exhibition, which Cristian Pineda represents or abstracts as a border code. It processes earth, stone and wood in a kind of «frontier laboratory». In doing so, it creates a bridge between the historical references of the place and its current life as a free transit to the European interior.

The intervention in the Belgian Customs includes a ground installation and an accompanying audiovisual, an intervention in the windows of the Customs, sculptures, paintings and an outdoor stone installation.

Parallel action of Abwesenheit • Absence

Meeting of refugee women from the women’s café in La Aduana. Refugee women symbolically using customs for their monthly meeting, which this time will be open to the public. It was a special intervention to listen, exchange and experience different perspectives from and beyond borders.

KATALOG - Abwesenheit – Ausencia 2022-Cristian Pineda
TEXTO por Geoffrey Pleyers
TEXTO por Pascale Naveau
KUKUK - KuKuK an der Grenze
PRENSA - Abwesenheit – interaktive Ausstellung auf Köpfchen
PRENSA - Aachener-Zeitung
Project Background
In the late 1940s, the “Köpfchen” border crossing between Belgium and Germany was gradually opened. At that time there was a Belgian guardhouse just in front of the German border.
In the early 1950s and in the course of this a small border house was built opposite the main customs building. The border has been closely guarded for years.
Until the opening of the Lichtenbusch motorway customs office in the 1960s, this was the most important road junction between Belgium and Germany for passenger and freight traffic.
In the late 1980s, 16 customs officers still worked in the building.
After 1980 the barriers were removed and after the entry into force of the Schengen Agreement in 1995, which opened the internal borders of the EU, border controls at the customs post “Köpfchen” were also discontinued.Historic borders are losing their importance as barriers to the nation-state. Remaining abandoned customs facilities. His disappearance is politically desired.
But the sociological-cultural borders are not so easy to abolish.
In January 2000, the pavilion underwent a transformation and the border house is now the headquarters of the KUKUK association. Those who present Customs as a cultural and historical testimony in dialogue with contemporary art went through a program of artistic production residencies and interventions around the border.