2020 Podium Project Manila

PROJECT OVERVIEW

M. Lopez: MANILA PODIUM PROJECT

Invisible Object: Prior Context of Work

There are a few modalities that operate in my process: one involves the material of light, one considers the residue of the absent body; the other builds the unknown, imagined space that brings forward an object (video Invisible Object)1.

“Smoke Clouds” require blindness in the studio.Silver nitrate and tin, even glass, are all translucent materials when I manipulate and combine them. Even light is clear, as it etches its rays into the glass in the process of "exposure"; it captures the air's alchemy and the surrounding conditions in mysterious ways. I am pouring material that I can't see. Only in the last moment, does the image appear. 

The sculptural work originates from my body: I move to direct the material in order to find an ephemeral explosion or the residue of a past destruction. My process requires my bodily participation to bring forward my presence and then ultimately it requires my removal-- the mirroring, environment, and the viewer's body all create the space, not me. My removal of image and artist's body are fundamental to Minimalism's questions of representation.

"Chandelier 1" came from the desire to put forward the unrepresented body by inverting an otherwise decorative,shimmering centerpiece into a cluster of suspended bodies. The idea for this work began with my interest in a rope and its industrial applications to rig, hang, pull—some of these refer to a kind of historic violence. The rope becomes a stand-in for a figure—an absent or implied body. So the work tends to be minimal and suggestive.  I borrowed the chandelier’s structure of suspension to hang a limp rope, curved to express a certain body language. I also took the chandelier's materials of light and glass, particularly lead crystal, so that its transparency and natural illumination could potentially become political.

My2018 installation constructed an abject, spare scaffolding system on the vergeof collapse (House of Cards, Simon Preston Gallery) based on a growing unease with the current political climate.The Arte Povera installation weaves together unlikely rigid materials:hand-twisted steel rope and tendrilled-lead covering vine-like scaffolding. The structures co-habitate and lean upon one another for support. Some stand entirely on suspended colored paracord, weighted down and delicately balanced with found street rubble and debris. This installation was constructed in the spirit of 3-D line drawing and is suffused with contradiction throughout: for example, rope takes on a structural function in supporting the scaffolding, rubble is suspended as aform of resistance and even of hope, choreographed with a means to balance. I pull hot glass to continue the line of drawing and coat it with mirrored silver nitrate so that the points and space between each material, including the air between, vibrates. The glass becomes yet another drawn, suspended figure and its transparency, as with all the material, animates the space of absence between. I want the viewer to identify spatially with the collapse but alsoimagine a redemptive, strange logic out of the impossible moment.

The work responds to the lines of the first iteration of Chandelier 1.

PROPOSAL FOR PODIUM: CHANDELIER 2

“Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard,distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings,themselves, or figments of their imagination—indeed, everything and anything except me.” 

― Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

I would like to expand upon the idea of all these previous works by creating a minimal chandelier with the materials of blown glass, mirroring, and chrome, and create a hybrid sculpture that contains the shape of the classic iconographic chandelier, and also incorporates crystal pulled ropes into a spare design (again in the spirit of drawing like the House of Cards work).

The dimension would be roughly 10 feet wide by 16 feet long (height): an oversized,bright chandelier that implements idea of light refraction with the combinations of crystal and glass in combination with LED lights. The large scale would allow the work to commands the space. 

I have been influenced by the Bourellec Brothers’ “Gabriel” chandelier, which was designed for Versailles (through the support of Swarovski). I have been considering for a few years on how to think of a shape that works with the same technical ideas of the Gabriel Chandelier, but carries more conceptual and formal weight by really examining the impact and shape of forms (i.e. how to create sculptural object rather than a design object). I will create a series of cast crystal ropes that are assembled in a similar fashion, but will use LED rope technology, rather than a series of LED bulbs. This requires an engineering feat both in terms of weight and scale, while maintaining the delicacy of the idea.  We are planning on implementing LED “rope”, which would allow the work to achieve a kind of fluidity. As I write, my studio is speaking with lighting specialists in order to achieve the affect that creates such effect, while remaining in line with some of the ideas consistent with my practice. Most likely we will cast glass ropes that can be assembled and dis-assembled in parts, and will used advanced lighting technology in order to create a glowing sentinel that will illuminate and expand beyond its own phantom space.

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1 The video "Invisible Object" takes the light of the camera to document subjects describing: an object as it appears to them in a dream or unfamiliar space; an object they cannot name or understand.The subjects are placed in front of a two-way mirror and recall with eyesclosed, through verbal language and physical body gesturing, the shape of things. The subjects’ body language mirrors each other and collapses in onto themselves to build one large imagined object through time. The title of the piece is taken from Giacometti’s “Hands Holding the Void” -- a figure holding that pregnant space of nothing and everything. My video tries to continue this idea to allow the subjects to imagine the space “in between”, in order that they may build an object that vanishes, once they open their eyes and look inthe mirror.

 

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Bourellec Brother chandelier at Versailles and other chandelier references.

PROCESS NOTES
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