This summer, the former Methodist church – turned into gallery – is housing four solo exhibitions, all working towards a new definition of sculpture. The rooms are filled with found objects from our daily lives (umbrellas, empty packaging, towels, toilet paper, clothes, etc…) which are reassembled and given new forms by the artists. Rejecting the use of conventional materials, recycling appears to be a core concept in their works where the old and unwanted is brought back to life again. Existing works from the collection face new commissions in a challenging and surprising display that finds its perfect mirror in the decaying walls of the surronding space.
(b. 1975, São Paulo, Brazil)
The artist’s works are displayed in a small and intimate room at the back which distinguishes itself from the spectacular spaces in the rest of the church. This choice reveals to be interesting as it makes us focus on the works themselves rather than on the monumental architecture. Entering the square room makes you feel as if you were entering someone’s place in his absence (the presence of a closed door and an unlighted fire place helps it). Umbrellas leaning on the walls, used plastic glasses stacked on top of each other, an empty tin of some household product, old sponges and rags accidentally left on the floor: an ambient mess that so much resemble any home.
Only after a while you start to notice tiny changes made to the objects (paint was added to the glasses; there isn’t just one umbrella but two – the second being placed upside down; the rags are not just randomly dropped on the floor but thoughtfully placed). Overall, this personal and narratively charged installation transmits a strong feeling of nostalgia on what was here and what is left to be in the future.
(b. 1948, London, UK)
This artist also works with found materials she transforms into sculptural pieces. Old tights are stretched out and pinned on a board, random objects are melted on table like glass piece, and long joined strips of industriously coloured in paper toilet are hanged in the middle of the room. The result is both playful and colorful, inviting the viewer to decode each material used in the creation of the artwork – what it is and what was it used for.
“I am interested in similar kinds of questions about how technology has changed our relationship with our environments, and I approach this with the language of the materials I use. I’m pretty apathetic about stoic historical materials like bronze; rather, I like the tempo of things that are more fragile and fractured with real life – the suppleness of body gel, toilet paper, sponge, carpet samples. Urban spirituality!” (Interview from Dazed)
Michael E. Smith
(b. 1977, Detroit, MI, USA)
Michael E. Smith’s sculptures are maybe the most difficult one to find; always hidden somewhere you wouldn’t expect them to be (the map on the press release is of a great help to find some of them!). Unlike many classical sculptures, his works aren’t ostentatious ones; they do not defy the space by imposing their magnitude. On the contrary, they seem to merge completely with their environment and wear away as if there were part of the décor. The long line ascending from the roof looks like a weightless electric cable accidentally left here. Similarly, the trousers on the guard rail might have been forgotten by someone. First seeing the line of gas cylinders you wonder if they are part of the building or an actual work of art. The boundaries between between the artworks and the space are fading away in the american born artist’s works.
“It’s interesting to leave the gallery space voided that way. (…) There’s all kinds of really nice peripheral material that orbits most white cubes, like bathrooms, hallways and ceilings. When I get in the space and I am forced to deal with a deadline, I find solutions in the space based on place or parts of the architecture that humans come into contact with or functional elements of the architecture. Each work is installed against some functioning element of the architecture.” (Interview from Art in America)
(b. 1984, San Diego, CA, USA)
Sam Falls is the artist who occupies the central space of the church. His practice stretches upon a range of different media such as video, painting and sculpture. What first gets our attention on the ground floor is the variety of the pieces exhibited. Although all the sculptures remain quite minimalistic, they all possess their own singularity as made of different materials (bronze, aluminum, marble and metal). The paintings on display are linked to the photographic process and the effect light can have on certain materials. The large canvas much resemble camera less photographs where leafs and more abstract objects have left their ghostly footprints. The balcony houses video works repeatedly showing some of Tarkovsky’s most famous movie scenes mixed with hits by the Velvet Underground.
“I’m interested in the development of color and composition throughout art history to the point where it was attacked, torn apart, and dispersed. I’m rebuilding elements of more traditional form and content in the studio and documenting them with large format photography to enliven a dialogue with the rigor of art history and its artists, hopefully applying it to essentially timeless themes with updated perspectives.” (Artist’s Statement from Artbroth)
For more informationand pictures of the exhibitions, please visit the Zabludowicz Collection website.