Melanchotopia was a site-specific exhibition curtaed by Nicolaus Schafhausen and Anne-Claire Schmitz from Witte de With that invited more than forty international artists to work with a range of different venues within Rotterdam. The exhibition attempts to go beyond classical approaches to exhibiting artworks in public spaces, choosing instead to work directly with the fabric of the city, bringing to the fore the encounters that take place within it. Each of the selected artists were asked to work with a specific location, ranging from places of leisure to professional activity and to activate their potential as spaces for ideas, discourse and invention. In a collaborative project with the Rotterdam based design outlet Hartman Binnenhuisadviseurs, I used the large window spaces to exhibit three wooden structures that draw upon and connect an eclectic range of material. The formal construction of these sculptures initially make direct reference to harsh modernist aesthetics, echoed in much of the design objects and furniture displayed within the shop and in the architectural heritage of the building itself, by Johannes Brinkman and partnership, responsible for many modernist buildings within the city. The structures also draw upon the windows depicted in the studio paintings of Caspar David Friedrich and Georg Friedrich Kersting, alongside a one to one scale structure based on my own studio window. I was interested in fabricating structures that operate as a means to view and frame actual space, surroundings and real time encounters as opposed to the focus of looking, or as an illusion of space, as depicted, for example, within the static, painted image. In making direct reference to the site of artistic endeavour, the studio, I was also attempting to explore the relationships between spaces of artistic production and spaces of commerce through presentation almost as products being advertised. Whilst the objects formally employ a stark and cold modernist aesthetic, on closer examination the surfaces emphatically display traces of my encounters, observations and experiences of time spent in Rotterdam whilst preparing and installing the works.
Research Group:Fine Art Practices
- School of Arts