Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Unusual Spaces

Karla Black 'All of This and Nothing'

I was mesmerized by the artwork of Julian Hoeber and Karla Black at the Hammer, in Los Angeles 2011. I was interested in the relation of architecture, displacement and psychology which I experienced through both artworks.

Glasgow- based artist Karla Black is known for using ephemeral and fragile materials. The artist uses basic and affable materials such as plaster, chalk dust, paper, and also other everyday objects such as face cream or house liquid cleaners and pink colors that strive to bring domesticity and beauty into place. She describes her work as “A need to just grab the World.” Karla Black’s work is site-specific and her works have a need for a larger scale space. Combining fragile works the artist has to consider where the works can be placed. I enjoyed the simplicity of the work.

At first sight I question myself, “what am I looking at?” Karla Black’s installations play with the idea of perception in a different way from Julian Hoeber’s work. We experience her work through the materials themselves such as an amusing smell. Although I enjoyed the materials and her minimalist style, I felt confined inside a room where it is not only the work that conducts us through the space, but also museum guards too; I was constricted inside a room, watching my step. I didn’t feel as much a connection to the work and to me her work reminded me less of an installation but rather as a painting. The only difference to me was the space where the work itself was placed on the floor and seemed intangible.

Mick, Hou Hanru, Anita and Cecilia inside 'Demon Hill'

For this exhibition, LA-based artist Julian Hoeber presented the populist “Demon Hill” base structure. As I walk inside the structure, a shack where I experience gravity and a sense of confusion. There is a playfulness to the work that explores psychology and gravity at the same time. At first from the outside space I felt familiar with this regular architecture and then I realized there is a trick in order to convey an illusion of space. It’s tipped as a compound bevel. The artist works are very much inspired by Op Art and a distinct style towards minimalism and at the same time plays with architecture. Julian Hoeber’s work also play with reality and perception, the viewer being disoriented with the mystery spot entering in a bizarre dangerous World, and in order to feel it I had to step inside these environment.

I was also interested in the process of both works. Is the work completed inside the space or they are shipped to the exhibition? In order to complete both works inside different spaces, while one goes through a labor intensive work the other has to follow instructions using fragile materials spreading construction powder carefully on the floor, layer by layer. Once these tactile surfaces are completed then the beauty of the artist’s work speaks to the surrounding space.

Cristina Guerreiro

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