Arturo Hernández Alcázar | Ishmael Randall Weeks | Marlon de Azambuja
curated by: Iciar Sagarminaga
The exhibition En Obras is a study of the phenomenon of architecture and the consequent precariousness of the contemporary landscape. Of the human being as the builder and destroyer of its environment. Of the tensions between urbanism and nature, utopia and dystopia, and the vast diconnections that exist between them.
Through the works of three artists, the exhibit traces a path through urban topographies, real and invented, that show the poetic content within these human territories. We see clearly how architecture inspires certain formal and social concerns for the artists Arturo Hernández Alcázar (Mexico, 1978), Marlon de Azambuja (Brazil, 1978), and Ishmael Randall Weeks (Peru, 1976), and becomes a vehicle to articulate the various issues of its presence and perseverance.
From a selection of drawings, collages, sculptures, archival documentation with sound, and a site-specific installation, the artists examine the ideological marks embedded by modern architecture, and they create allegorical narratives emphasizing the elements of a civilization perpetually under construction. The pieces function as an archeological survey of the present, showing records of our artificial landscape, and from them they build new models, offering various meditations on the urban environment which we’ve inherited and in which we still dwell, drafting new lines over the horizon.
All the artworks in the space have been created from found objects and images, establishing new concepts with these repurposed materials and challenging the role of the human being as designer of a global identity, with all the freedoms and responsibilities that it entails. The gestures in these artisitic interventions are minimal, reinforcing the power of ideas in process to raise new possibilities for the urban landscape.
Arturo Hernández Alcázar, draws from a view of destruction and instability with the works he presents. Joining and bending recovered copper tubes, he has built an abstract mobile installation that hangs from the ceiling of the gallery.
Suspended in the air, with the mix of copper lines, their casted shadows and threads that hold them, Alcázar creates a provisional structure of containment, light and changing. The material of forces that converge and diverge, Circulación desviada e inestable (2013) exerts a moemnt of tension within the space. The energetic containment structure works as a three-dimensional drawing, recreating the veins of a conductive mechanism usually hidden and invisible.It is a
reflection on the construcutive processes of construction, contingent and precarious forces that function as permanent. Alcázar also presents Temblor de Gente (Madrid 2013), a documentation with sound of a collective action that took place in the outskirts of the Spanish captial, in which a group of persons gathered to record the seismographic measures of tremors made from stomping inside an abandoned skeletal building. An unfinished present-day recorded at the point before its metaphoric collapse. The fall of buildings, the burial of those concrete bodies that represent
a social failure, are the image that arise in seeing these records, along with a group of drawings on photographs in his collection Estados de Colapso (2013).
Alternately, Marlon de Azambuja establishes constructive narratives in order to discover distinct possibilities within historic systems of modern architecture.It is about a fictional architecture whose structural nuances feed new ideas.The sculptural installation Brutalismo (2013) invites us to relate in a surprising manner with the monolithic architecture. From an aerial view, we see a small city built from the very pieces that construct the buildings we inhabit. Different bricks and cement blocks are piled up, elevated and held together by clamps at varying heights, formulating an island of structures apparently floating. What’s more, in the drawing Nuevos Barrios (2012) Azambuja uses architectural templates, old design instruments, to visualize the growth of a big cities, to drawing the surfaces in organic forms of wood, of fingerprints, offering an alternative vision, a more human adaptation.
The work of Ishmael Randall Weeks also incites ideas of returning to the drafting table, where it all begins. Similar to Alcázar, Weeks draws from various found images and repurposed materials, but he speaks more of reconstruction.
Cutting fine lines into photo-transfer collages of architectural building sites, Weeks creates new geometries, abstract drawings in his Nuevo Mundo S(2013). In them lie possible discourse of the inexhaustible nature of the human being to rethink his universe. No state maintains a permanence, and the spirit of improving upon the old models that we inherit is where we triumph as thinkers and designers of our collective destiny.
The proliferation of global systems have given rise to unprecedented urbanization, migration to growing cities, and the disproportion of the human space. Our civilizations continue to expand at an unrelenting and unreachable pace. En Obras posits a profound shift in understanding of our spatial and social landscape that we are witnessing and offers the consequent artistic viewpoints so that we may contemplate our heritage and our responsibilities within an experimental setting.