Wilfrid Almendra
Yellow River
2011
Inox, concrete, wood
196.85 x 196.85 x 11.81 inches
The work "Yellow River" is a sculpture composed of 36 elements of cased concrete in various shapes and sizes but all the same height, covered for the most part with polished stainless steel mirror plates and illuminated by four powerful spotlights releasing an intense yellow light. These blocks reproduce the square plan of Masdar City, a new city currently under construction in the desert of Abu Dhabi. Designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster, Masdar City aims to be an ecologic model city of 50,000 inhabitants, without cars, consuming zero carbon and producing zero waste, a prototype for cities in the future. Emerging from the vertical blocks as a public sculpture or publicity sign is a reproduction in wood of the open hand symbol of Chandigarh- experimental and social capital of the Indian states of Pendjab and Haryana constructed in 1951 by LE CORBUSIER that implements its architectural and urban theories- the link between these two projects of new utopian cities. But if LE CORBUSIER saw in the hand a symbol of remembrance, the giving and exchanging between men, and in the expression lines of traffic that innervate a city, it seems here to express more a future that came to an end. While Chandigarh has become a preserved city well short of its ideals of departure, Masdar City, a city built with ecological oil money will be reserved for the elite. Futuristic city out in the desert like a mirage or an image of science fiction, Masdar City will be surrounded by high walls to protect it from hot winds and sand storms, and will have workers regulating the exterior of its walls. Encased by an overwhelming yellow light, that is reminiscent of the desert sun spots but also construction workers who take turns 24 hours non-stop for the construction of Masdar City, the stainless steel plates of "Yellow River" evoke the roof panels that will ensure the energy independence of the city that's walls comprised of glass mirrors.