WEST HOLLYWOOD.-Following six months of living and working in Los Angeles, Group XXVI of the MAK Center Artists and Architects in Residence program will present their Final Projects in an exhibition at the Schindler House. Manuela Mark, Paul Dallas, Raimund Pleschberger and partners Eldine Heep, Oona Peyrer-Heimstätt and Paul Peyrer-Heimstätt have been living in the R.M. Schindler-designed Mackey Apartments and working on projects that all use Southern California as resource and inspiration. A free public opening is scheduled for Wednesday, August 20, 2008 from 6 pm to 9 pm. The exhibition will remain on view Thursday–Sunday, August 21–24, from 11 am to 6 pm.
Schindlertryangeles, the Final Project of Eldine Heep, Oona Peyrer-Heimstätt and Paul Peyrer-Heimstätt, is a geometric re-interpretation of Rudolph Schindler’s Kings Road House. Elements of the building — walls and lawn — will be transformed into segments of triangles, forcing units originally based on a grid of squares into a triangulated grid. The procedure of “triangulation” derives from the science of geodesy, which uses rasters to analyse the surface of objects or landscapes. This analysis of an object requires its adjustment to a standardized norm; it is a method of imposing order. Schindlertryangeles is a metaphor for the power that geometry imposes over everyday life and the natural world.
Despite the mathematical similarity of the basic geometrical forms of both the original and the transformed Schindler House, the building unravels into a so far unknown habitat. Only through the confrontation of two incompatible systems can the viewer be conscious of the merciless presence of a schematized architecture. In the combination of architectural body and geometrical raster, of research object and scientific analysis, Schindlertryangeles raises questions not only about the possibility of scientific methods, but also about the obsession and the obligations of analysis. It reflects not solely the human urge to submit the entire world to a scientific examination, but also the primal instinct to control the environment.
During his residency, Austrian artist Raimund Pleschberger worked on a series of objects, still lives, and phrases under the rubric, The Extended Ornament. While these works do not look like conventional ornaments, they share some basic properties of “non-autonomous” artworks. They are either dependent on another object to carry them, are symmetrically ordered, have a strong rhetorical component, or serve an obviously decorative purpose.
For the Final Projects exhibition, Pleschberger will show photo documentation of “stuccoprototypes” that he attached to different spatial settings in Los Angeles. These works explore the effects a small sculptural intervention can have within an anonymous urban space. Another body of work Pleschberger will exhibit documents ornamental arrangements he composed using objects of daily life found at the Mackey Apartments. The third component of the Final Projects presentation will be a collection of “ornamental” phrases projected onto Schindler’s architecture. These explore the idea of rhetoric as the linguistic counterpart to ornament and attempt to merge the two disciplines into a single form.
Inspired by several visits to the U.S.-Mexico border and by the illegal street vendors of Los Angeles, Canadian architect Paul Dallas addresses issues of power, authority and public space. Conflating two current national anxieties — illegal immigration and the looming energy crisis — Dallas’ work investigates the slipperiness of meaning and offers an ambiguous critique of those in power. For the exhibition, Dallas designed a mobile public work which can be used to surveil surrounding environments. It is meant to be erected in various locations and on either side of the border as a means to explore how context contributes to the meaning of an art work.
Poised between sculpture and functionality, Displaced Monument (to Empire): For Purposes of Speculation, is both ominous and playful — an unclassifiable alien object invading a landscape. Resembling an oil derrick affixed with a viewing device, it operates on a reversal of logic: rather than a tool from which to extract energy from the earth, it is an apparatus for surveiling people or surveying land. Designed as a steel tower with an open framework, it will recall an enlarged Erector Set on wheels. From the Mexican perspective, the piece can be read as a provocation — a symbol of American might in the form of another watchtower from which the Americans can keep tabs on illegal immigrants. From the American perspective, the piece can be read as a reversal of the current power dynamic, an invitation to the public to view the authorities — a democratization of the culture of
Austrian artist Manuela Mark will present a video and photographs. Interested in the relationship between video/film-recording and natural perception, her work in Los Angeles explores the process of creating identity through the involvement of architecture, design and film. While in Los Angeles, Mark became aware of how people interact with specific environments in the context of their appearance. Using their bodies and certain locations as tools for performing, people create a temporary identity through mimicry or by incorporating the behaviors of fictive roles. The video relates this identification process, employing the first-person narrator in a fiction.
Mark’s video project is based on sound recordings extracted from the novel Quicksand by Nella Larsen. The text fragments contain sensual and concrete descriptions of people, rooms, furniture and fabrics, using powerful imagery and phrases. At certain times, the voice-over becomes the structure for the performances; the rhythms, hesitations and pauses of the reading are reflected in the movements and gestures of the figure in the video. Filmed at the Mackey Apartments, the visual performances are also very much inspired by their locale. The exhibition will also include photographs responding to the video. While the structure of the video is dominated by the process of reading, the photographs are concrete compositions of body, texture and the architectural structure.