23 January – 15 February 2003
MATTHEW BRADLEY, YOKO KAJIO, GORDON MATTA-CLARK, TIM STERLING
CURATED BY CHRIS CHAPMAN
This exhibition includes works of art which share formal and conceptual properties. The graphic, mathematical forms of the structures of towers and bridges, gaps between and within elements of urban architecture, and concealed urban spaces are represented in these works. Further, the artists investigate the psychological effects of breaching these structures in order to activate metaphoric and poetic resonances. The exhibition title Z refers to the shape of certain elements within these architectural forms, the vectors of connectivity between the works themselves, and acts as a kind of algebraic signifier: a mathematical symbol representing various shared and interchangeble elements between the works.
All the works represent possibilities for moving over, around and through architectural and mathematical structures.
Matthew Bradley's photographs and video work explore the transcending of physical boundaries. His video installation documents the artist's illegal climbing of a lighting tower at dawn, recorded via a camera fitted to a customised bike-helmet. His photographs of individuals leaping from the end of a jetty capture their action mid-flight, suspended in a space at the limit of the built environment.
Yoko Kajio's digitally-enhanced video transforms urban structures into an endlessly-twisting psychological field. Her abstraction of elements of the high-density urban environment also enhances the properties of light and colour as psychological triggers.
Tim Sterling's three-dimensional works seem to change their form as we move around them. His exploration of systems, arbitrary and symbolic, is manifest in the work 'Bomb'. Using a dictionary, Sterling selected particular words according to a pattern. These were then transformed into illustrations, cut from MDF, and propped up to resemble a campfire, or smoke. A pair of birds tussle with a rubber 'worm' threatening to collapse the structure, and the empty spaces within the cogs of rows of cassette tapes suggest rods or heating elements.
In his documentary film 'Substrait (Underground Dailies)', Gordon Matta-Clark explores and documents underground spaces in New York City, revealing the complexity and variety of the matrix of subterranean networks that exist beneath the urban environment. In his works 'Splitting' and 'Bingo / Ninths' which are performative and sculptural, he physically and symbolically deconstructs suburban domestic dwellings.
Matta-Clark has stated that "The determining factor is the degree to which my intervention can transform the structure into an act of communication."(1) His actions change the physical nature of the buildings themselves, revealing internal layers and spaces by removing architectural sections. This opening-up is actual, and also metaphoric. Matta-Clark's most famous work 'Splitting' involves the vertical cutting of a suburban house in New Jersey.
"Starting at the bottom of the stairs where the crack was small, you'd go up, and as you'd go further up, you'd have to keep crossing the crack. It kept widening as you made your way up the stairs to the top so by the time you got to the top, the crack was one or two feet wide. You really had to jump it. You sensed the abyss in a kinesthetic and psychological sense." (2)
Matta-Clark sawed through the wooden house, then removed an angled section of the stone foundation, tilting the house and opening the 'split'. The increase in sunlight transformed the internal spaces, and the house, as a symbol of suburban containment and alienation, was liberated.
1. Gordon Matta-Clark in Corinne Diserens, The Greene Street Years, Gordon Matta-Clark, IVAM Centre Julio Gonzalez, Valencia 1993
2. Alice Aycock interviewed by Joan Simon in Mary Jane Jacobs, Gordon Matta-Clark: A Retrospective, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago 1985