Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Again about the concept of the Space

I am just browsing Foucault's "Of Other Spaces".
At the very beginning of this show's planning, Habda mentioned the concept of Heterotopia. If you don't understand philosophy, like myself, it can drive you mad. But the minute you understand it, a whole new world unfolds right before your eyes, and you start to wonder how is it that you have wasted so much time without even trying to approach such books, too scared to feel like an idiot in front of the vastness of such concept. Just the first two or three lines of that small essay were illuminating.

We decided to write a short paragraph each about our conception of the Space, so I'll try not to cheat, reprising the philosopher's words, and go for what I feel, and know, about it.
For me, the space in relation to an exhibition is like an interface between it and the showed works that is undoubtedly necessary but could, in a way, be defied. Of course, an artwork needs to be in relation to the space in order for it to properly communicate with the viewer, but sometimes the view of the space seems to take over and influence the work's display too much. There is only one example, in the case of the "space taking over", that comes to my mind: Kiesler's space for Peggy Guggenheim's gallery, The Art of This Century (1942).

Unit 2 is a space with a strong identity, meaning that it isn't an actual commercial gallery, or a museum's section, which may both be considered as mere containers where just artworks do the talking. It is in response to this identity that, in my opinion, we are choosing certain artworks and artists to create the show. So far, the proposed works all require the public to interact and create different means of communication beyond the space's physical boundaries. This should activate a different perception of the space: not just a mere container, but an active entity that works with the artworks without overwhelming them, and creates an experience for the public at the same time. As an active entity, the space can be considered organic, and consequently become active or inactive, opened or closed, intersected or left to be, expanded or contained. All this sounds very elusive, but I am sure I can define it better by the end of the month. At least, it's a beginning.

Two words about the picture I have put there: it is by Luisa Lambri and represents Oscar Niemeyer's Casa Das Canoas in Rio De Janeiro. Try to take a step back, just before I revealed what it is: does that space look like anything recognizable in that picture? Lambri's practice, extended from spaces to places, is about a personal interpretation (not documentation) of the space, which leaves the viewer with no reference but, in turn, a different personal perception of it.

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