A conversation between Luciana Lamothe and Alberta Pane.
A.P. : Talking about your next exhibition at Galerie Alberta Pane, what's the installation you want to realize about?
L.L. : One of the sculptures I want to realize is like a footpath you can cross, a bridge you can walk on. The sculpture's way is made up of a wooden structure pulled by metal pipes, a material that straining, generates forms, ranging from symmetrical and rhythmic figures to the danger of crossing it. The second sculpture is a seat made under the same logic of construction. The act of sitting becomes reflective on the shape and material.
My works' strategy often consists in realizing a dislocation between the function and the form or the function and the context, but at the same time ensuring the effectiveness of the function. For example, a tool's use that fulfills its function but in a different context from the one it was originally made for; or a sculpture designed to pierce the walls of the exhibition space (‘Función’, Ruth Benzacar Gallery) but at the same time using them to be showcased. In this exhibition, the dislocation occurs when the pure form of a drawing, with some patterns repeating themselves with harmony and rhythm, gets a functional use, in this case to walk or to sit.
Then what's the relation between form and function in your artworks and in this one in particular?
In architecture there is a fundamental principle according to which "form follows function" which means, on the one hand function and form rely and depend on each other, but on the other hand, architecture always has to guarantee the effectiveness of the function. Any deconstructivist building despite the apparent chaos, must meet all the functional aspects using as less resources and as much efficacy as possible.
For example, at the beginning, the space may be supposedly composed of empty halls and corridors, in order to obtain a good circulation, and then, gradually, you upholster, you add and aggregate to reach formal complexity.
In the case of my sculptures, the formal complexity expresses the function, and the simple fact of walking becomes a complex act.
Concerning your previous exhibitions, how did you express this concept and what was the material's
role in your artworks? In the latest show I made at Ruth Benzacar Gallery, I presented a long walkway made of wooden boards hanging on a structure of tubes. Walking over it, the boards flex due to the body weight and in this way, everyone could test the material's resistance. It was a sort of act of trust, everyone had to rely on the material.
In this case, as in many others, my interest in the ambivalence of the materials in terms of strength and ductility could be clearly perceived. The materials I work with belong to the world of construction; they’re solid, resistant and durable, but when all physical pressure is withdrawn, they may become soft and elastic.
Thinking back to your first exhibition at the gallery, what are the differences? What about the people
visiting the exhibition? Do they interact with your artworks? In my first exhibition at the Galerie Alberta Pane, my proposal was also to reflect on architecture, function and materials, in particular the ambiguity of the concrete, due to its two opposite states, from the liquid to the solid phase. Concrete's dry powder turns into a moist and malleable dough, and then evolves into an hard and dry mass. And it is exactly when it hardens, that it can play its role in the architecture. In the installation I made at the gallery, the viewer had the opportunity to see it in both states, liquid and solidified. The transition from one state to another depended on the viewer's participation, supposed to bring his own wet material (saliva), which was crucial for carrying out the mix of the two. Once more, the body tries personally and directly the different possibilities of the material.
When you talk about deconstructivism: which architect in particular do you refer to?
I'm thinking about deconstructivism in general, but I could mention Frank Gehry and the museum of Bilbao as a paradigmatic example where formal complexity can be found everywhere, yet circulation is never interrupted, and all rooms and corridors are easily accessible. It’s an architecture of "adding": once the functionality is guaranteed, you take care of complexity, and then you return to function again.
What I want to highlight is that the architecture should always put the function first, and could never avoid it.
In this exhibition, my idea is to propose a project, geometric in this case, initially conceived from lines and the idea of strain on the materials, both in the form of sculptures' pure contemplation, and in terms of functionality.
In the exhibition "Prueba de tensión" last May at Ruth Benzacar Gallery, the wood suspended in the air was flexed to the limits by the body weight of people walking on it.
In my next exhibition, “The function of form”, every piece of wood will be put under pressure in order to finally generate relief, It will transforme the flat surface in a volume, thus making the space more complex.
On the other hand, I am also interested in materials belonging to the construction's field, because they are produced in modular equal pieces and allow me to generate modular or different forms of the same idea. The provisional nature allows to assemble and disassemble quickly. Changing is an inherent feature of these materials.
How would you include your work in the contemporary art’s scene in Argentina?
Since the 2001's crisis, many artists of my generation and I, we have started working directly on the context, not necessarily regarding the issue itself, in other words, the work area has moved from the laboratory to the street or directly to the exhibition space.
Materials and fragility, consumption, the crisis of institutions were the axes around which we moved. Over the years, everyone has matured and developed his own very personal work through different ways of expression.
What is the link among your sculptures, your drawings, your performances and your actions?
My work is bound to the ideas of “action” and of “sculpture”. To create a sculpture is an action, to look at a sculpture is an action. An element suspended in the air is a potential action.
The actions recorded in my videos often refer to the sculpture and to materials. In turn, my sculptural work often involves an action, a movement. In this way, I highlight a mechanism, a function, a logic of thought or behavior with any material I use.
Time becomes a decisive factor in the artwork.
What about your next projects?
My next project is a intervention in the public space of Buenos Aires. It is a sculpture located at the confluence of two busy streets. People can go up to the large scaffolding structure and lean on a balcony overlooking the street. The viewer can feel the dizziness of the height and the structure's slope.
What do you expect from your exhibition in Paris?
I hope you’ll like it!