Video installation Lelijk is het niet (Ugly it is Not)
Ilya Rabinovich made the video Lelijk is het niet (Ugly it is Not) in 2004, during the deconstruction of the Smart Project Space building (built 1965). Rabinovitch documented the structure's demolition in hundreds of still photographs; In the video, these photographs are presented chronologically, creating a precisely constructed slow-motion account of the tearing-down process.
The demolition of the building invoked in Rabinovitch a feeling of nostalgia; not only was his studio situated in the building for four years, but as a child of the sixties, he feels connected to the era’s cultural heritage, with its sympathetic, optimistic, modernist thought.
The former Jan Swammerdam Instituut at 1e Constantijn Huygensstraat, which housed Smart Project Space, is one of many modernist constructions torn down. They are bulldozed not for possible construction errors or appearance but because of the need to use every bit of city terrain to the maximum. As a consequence, part of our cultural heritage is disappearing. By recording this demolition, Lelijk is het niet eventually surmounts the personal story to become a message to the people: "Look what′s happening here. "
Written by Karin Christof – independent curator at Agentur Amsterdam 2005.