Sunday, October 23, 2005
As per installation art there’s always a relationship between void and mass. Art brings illusion, whether as a flat rectangle -as in painting- or as sculpture. Ancient pyramids are huge geometric solids (there’s no division between Amun and the Pharaoh). Athens’ Parthenon brings forth the idea of order, symmetry and scale in function of the citizen. Fast-forward 500 years to Rome’s Pantheon and we find a redefinition of the private/public in the stability and permanence of the empire. In Romanesque architecture the inside means worship and domesticity, while the outside remains dangerous (thus the fortress). Modern science redefines our relationship with space. With the invention of the elevator, buildings can go up dozens of stories; the car (a little room on wheels) takes our intimate living outside. With quantum mechanics, space becomes non-Euclidean. 20th-century art erases the boundaries between object/subject, inside/outside, private/public with Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau, Duchamp’s ready-mades, the vast canvases of Pollock, Newman and Still, Frank Stella’s shaped canvases (which broke the hegemony of the rectangle), Sol Lewitt’s wall drawings, Carl Andre’s flat sculptures, Smithson’s earth works, Kaprow’s happenings, Claes Oldenburg’s The Store, and the tableaux of Segal, Kienholz and Tom Wasselmann. Today, buildings look sculptural (Gehry's Guggenheim Museum), while interiors are designed as exteriors (Zaha Hadid).