Any Means Available" 2005
Maison Tunisie," 2004
Any Means Available" 2005, and "La Maision Tunisie"
"Untitled (After Charlotte Perriand)" 2004
detail: "Untitled (After Charlotte Perriand)"
(After Perriand) and related works
paper, tape, foil, mixed media
in "Practice Make Perfect: Bay Area Conceptual Craft"
at Southern Exposure Gallery, San Francisco
explored in previous work, I have a weakness for modernist design
and minimal art. I am seduced by the geometry, the cleanliness,
and rigorous aesthetics, but find it hard to ignore the social
and cultural history of the period. “La
Maison Tunisie”2004, is a
resuscitation of a modernist shelving unit by French designer
Charlotte Perriand, a colleague of le Corbusier--but this time
executed in cardboard, paper, glue, and tape. As a gorgeously
designed work, Perriand's 1950s shelf had the hallmark clean lines
and materials of the modernist era. For my own piece, I was more
interested in attempting a similar effect, but with more "local"
materials--in this case only the materials available at-hand in
“La Maision Tunisie” brings for me a plethora
of references beyond simply being an exploration of modernist
form. My memories of the Philippines includes cityscapes dotted
with architecture in the International Style, of which Perriand
was a study of. The irony of seeing these crumbling, decades-old
buildings at times shoulder-to-shoulder with slums and shanties
built of cardboard and tin brings together not only an interesting
clash of architectural building techniques, but of social eras.
The International Style indeed went international--to the Third
World--and then, like any other architectural moment, sits as
a dated design that eventually starts to acquire the patina of
age and disrepair--the physical manifestation of the weight of
reality and time (some would say even the humanity) coming to
bear on the modernist vision of progress. Like the buildings of
Brasilia, the Brazilian capital's experiment in architectural
envisioning of the future, they stand as melancholy reminders
of a history of social and spatial engineering.
Maison Tunisie,”or The Tunisian House is a
French designer's modernist reinterpretation of Tunisian architecture--perhaps
even a colonial fantasy or projection as Tunisia was a French
colony until 1956. Built using the same conceptual strategy as
one would build a shanty (with whatever's at hand locally), “La
Maison Tunisie”2004 tries to pull together the history
of style, place, and social space and to implicate the many layers
of translations at work on both the “"original"”
and the “"cover."
To make the work I was not allowed to buy, purchase, or otherwise
acquire any materials outside of the studio, my own little sphere
of the world. Partly to break myself out of my over-use of foamboard,
I set about scrounging and using only what was at hand--I taped
together cardboard and scrap board, used glue and wheat paste
to adhere surfaces, and cut colored pieces out of magazines to
create fields of color. The resulting collage effect was a direct
representation of my “"local"”territory,
and became evidence of the stuff that immediately surrounded me.