Thursday, 27 February 2014

Beautiful Boxes: Custom Space, 3

Things Discussed: Punta della Dogana; Loris Gréaud, Stanley Kubrick; Digital Hippy Updates; Texturized Allure; Angles Between Two Walls.

written by f

There are many themes you can explore during your visit. Three may be the most evident: you can follow the tactile path, tracing the textures in a binge that falls short of fetishism; 

or you can follow the visual thread in the trips&tricks of reflection, refraction, transparency and framing; 

Or you can find yourself subtly caught in an auditory trail: Bruce Nauman, Dominique González-Forster, Roman Opalka, and Loris Gréaud. 

I've talked extensively about the texturized allure of the space and Tadao Ando's work on it: brick, wood, stone, concrete, all causing me a sensory overload each time I walk in there. Each material its own tactile surface, its temperature, its colors. 

This is not an easy space: it is only deceivingly neutral. It is so very difficult for a work or an artist to stand up to it. It's like you run the risk of being kitsch just by putting a color too many in here. Everything may result too loud in this light. 

It is a relief, then, that the very literal highlight of the exhibition is the white room by Loris Gréaud, which is also the only work completely divorced from the Dogana space. But it's a lucky mismatch.

The white room does away with the sense of touch pervading everything else, awakens vision abruptly and sends you down the rabbit hole with a musical trick called the Shepard Tone: a spiral of ever descending never ending fall.

Does the Angle Between Two Walls Have a Happy Ending? (2013) is an amazing room. At first you can approach it intellectually and be reminded of 2001: A Space Odyssey's white room with Louis XVI style furniture, or the digital hippy updated version in Tron: Legacy. Loris Gréaud is a filmmaker: he knows what you'll think.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) ©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc 
Tron: Legacy (2010) ©The Walt Disney Company

And he does a couple of things, apparently, to hint at both.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) ©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc  
Tron: Legacy (2010) ©The Walt Disney Company
But anything you have in mind will disappear as soon as the room lights up. There and then you are inside a suntanning box, doing what they always tell you not do do: looking at the light.

And looking right into the light is what this work forces you to do.

Surprisingly oblivious to the sense of touch, I left the museum at 7pm when they gently kicked me out, and I noticed that the strange lightbulb contraption shading the entrance door breathes light, like an oversized apple laptop on standby. It's Philippe Parreno, with his 2013 work Marquee.

(This was the third and last part of my visit to Punta della Dogana exhibition Prima Materia. You can read part 1&2 here and here.)

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