Pablo Valbuena - Medialab Prado, Madrid
First brought to our attention via the digital archive slowly building on the excellent ICASEA blog attached to the UK/JP electronic art label, the work of artist/architect Pablo Valbuena challenges the perception of space by the direct manipulation of light to create complex geometric illusions. The use of form, space and light, highly conventional architectural terms, as layers of intervention and re_presentation through sculpture and projection mapping in his work is well removed from the prevalent employment of such.
Perhaps of most interest here are the interventions in urban space, rather than those in interior environments. The animation of the hard rectilinear landscape outside of the Medialab Prado in Madrid (2007) is a post-Tron digital dissection of space. It is remarkable how the aesthetic of cybernetic art has returned to a minimal and binary position. The works of Carsten Nicolai and Ryoji Ikeda have consistently relied upon a retreat to minimal linear and geometric form that can be easily perceived as not too distant from the pioneering work of Lloyd Sumner and Roman Verostko.
Ryoji Ikeda - Datamatics
The notion that a graffiti artist allows the space within which it is contained to define the scale and form of their letters is easily identifiable in the practice of many artists. The limits of space and the limits of their bodies are often cited in texts as these are typically art history constructs which allow academics to place graffiti neatly into some skewed western tradition, thus increase its acceptance as an art form as one which may be part of a contemporary discourse. Scouring the early entries od Momo’s blog led to an introduction to Fred Radtke, who seems to have considerable notoriety in the US as a vigilante graffiti remover. Unsanctioned, but tolerated, Radtke will answer calls from the public and paint over graffiti using his trademark grey paint, he is commonly referred to as the Grey Ghost. He is not consistent in his chosen tone of grey and an extended ‘dialogue’ on the same wall over several months between Radtke and his opponents can result in some interesting abstract compositions. The irony that exists here is that Radtke does not distinguish between illegal and legal graffiti and has landed himself with a $20,000 fine after controversially painting over an officially sanctioned ‘artwork’ by UK pretender Banksy. The ‘pieces’ themselves have a minor discourse with urban space, the morals and politics surrounding the activity are impassioned, but incidental to the accidental emergence of anti-art-art.
re_map does not condone the work of Banksy in any way shape or form.
Images are from various Flickr accounts.
Abstract Motion No.1
Abstract Motion No.2
The solution, the problem, neither or both?
The C20 art and social theory concerning ‘the everyday’ precedes and overtly informs the architectural fascination with space now defined as ‘interstitial’ or ‘residual’. Lefebvre, Lyotard, Ruscha, Smithson and Baldessari all played their part in exposing the mundane and banal and subsequently the specifics of the spatial orders of capitalism.
Niche space, leftover space and blurred territory are all by-products of urban policy and processes; motorway junctions are particularly explicit providers of well defined residue, space without programme. Below is a copy of an article from CTRL_ALT_DELETE, a small fanzine out of Sheffield, by the author of Autotoxicity. The piece, M1 – part one (Hostile Environments) is about living in the space carved out by the motorway junction where the A1(M) meets the M18.
Business, science and office parks at the periphery have their own brand of broad delineating fields of thorny soft landscape gently interspersed by mesh fencing, vast tracts of this boundary condition consume our edge cities as a mediator between security and greenspace policy.
Recently, Gordon Matta-Clark’s Fake Estates project has been brought to the authors’ attention from a host of different sources. He bought up 15 plots that were remnants of land deals, the carving up of larger sites or slicing through sites with pieces of municipal infrastructure. These were usually pieces of land that would be considered useless in development terms, but clearly the process of their creation fascinated Matta-Clark. The City of New York auctioned them for apporximately $35.00 each. GM-C only had the opportunity to document the sites through assembly of the title deeds and a physical and photogrpahic survey, before moving on to alternative projects. This is said to be symptomatic of the man who lived out his art, acting as quickly as he was thinking and sometimes thinking and acting before he had concluded his thoughts! The work was uncovered by GM-C’s wife after his death and caused something of a stir amongst those who had already selectively categorised and packaged the artist as “the chap who cuts holes in buildings”. This work challenges the notion of the grid as organising device, indeed almost celebrates its ambivalence, it usurps the architectural ideal of the grid as a rationalisation of space and presents its irrationality upon its confluence with policy. Pamela Lee discusses this work, with others, in Chapter 2 of Object to be Destroyed. The work was re-investigated in 2003 by the Odd Lots project shown at the Queens Museum of Art and White Colmuns.
Video stills from a 1975 video by Jaime Davidovick with Gordon Matta-Clark shot on site during the project.