Roland Roos – Heroic Repairsman
From 2009 to 2010, artist Roland Roos created a project to repair and restore damaged urban facilities in Europe – mainly the Eastern parts. He documented the process, taking photos before and after the restoration, which he later sold to cover the cost of materials.
Repaired barrier, Torun, Poland.
Restored painting by street artist M-City, Warsaw, Poland.
Repaired truck tire on a parked truck in Vienna, Austria.
Restored infrastructure, Brussels, Belgium.
Repaired lamp, Zurich, Switzerland.
Such a voluntary, sincere, gesture by an artist is difficult to understand. On the one hand, he temporarily substituted his main activities to do something completely opposite – perhaps to gain new experiences or to live in someone else's shoes. On the other hand, pointing to the obvious and restoring systems of operation gives his process an element of aesthetic pedantry – not simply highlighting problems, but initiating self-motivated efforts to address them.
In any case, it is a practical application of ideas to make the world a better place. Although this sounds naive, it is more relevant today than ever.
Restored lantern, Warsaw, Poland.
Restored fence, Colin, Czech Republic.
Fenced-off damaged asphalt, Bratislava, Slovakia.
This project is similar to Soviet historic traditions and ideal of valiant 'pioneers.' We were brought up on these stories, which are closely linked to the idea of guerrilla urban development. So, we invited Roland to come to Moscow – with its abundant broken roads and holes in the sidewalks – for a joint restoration of urban sites in the city. But, he refused, saying that this particular project is over for him. It's a pity.
First image is of a restored traffic signal, Vienna, Austria.