18.04 – 01.05.10
by Nicola Wright
“…the letters K and L are very competitive. L always wanted to be before K in the alphabet but it never did it. the same happens with M and N. and also with S and T. S and T are also our initials in our surnames. so we can do the favour to letter T just for a show. So ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRTSUVWXYZ”
– Risa Tsunegi and Theodoros Stamatogiannis April 2010
As the title suggests, Risa Tsunegi and Theodoros Stamatogiannis employ constructs we recognize without adhering to the self-evident rules we assume of them (struts support something else, doors are made to fit in doorways, s comes before t).
Entering, each participant is forced to navigate the space in a different way, as a newly installed gallery door (or is it wall?) passes through its axis. The ordinariness of the form chosen by the artist, architecture hidden by the repetition of everyday use which precedes visual apathy, is wittily brought into focus. Perhaps more surreal than the elongated door is the participant’s response: the entertainment to be found in opening and closing it. For Stamatogiannis, engagement seems primary to the works’ activation. He suggests an alternative not only to the ways we use and occupy space, but inherently its social production; the structures’ schematics support the creation of random relationships and the opportunity for encounters. The work neither functions as a boundary, nor exists as a function of the architecture’s totality, but re-designates spaces which oscillate between the public and private, intimate and municipal. Stamatogiannis suggests an epistemology for space where restricted and fragmented views can be constantly in flux, augmenting to the will of the participant to generate versatile spatial tiers.
The works presented by both Tsunegi and Stamatogiannis engage with an anti-aesthetic, likening themselves to the least wondrous of subjects – ordinary objects – yet they urge us away from notions of utilitarian function, being themselves superfluous to functionality. For Tsunegi in particular, the relationships between use and uselessness, serviceable objects and art objects are played out in her use of architectonic constructions. The latent tensile forces implied by the illusion of the girder’s weightiness create a point of focused mass; a fixed mark which punctuates the space as a full-stop. Yet these implied forces give way to redundancy. The works flat patina indicates representation, rather than slavish imitation of form, occasionally allowing it to fall into a drawn 2-dimentional relief.
For Tsunegi and Stamatogiannis architectural space itself becomes an object to be manipulated, questioning both the boundaries and structures of internal and external space. What should not be disregarded however is the humour with which these artists approach their subjects, something perhaps underplayed by the works’ ascetic appearances. Nonsensical exaggerations in scale and composition embroil the viewer in their absurdity – and as participants, we are asked to accede to the two structures own (il)logic.
Tsunegi’s and Stamatogiannis’s works are like gently sparring protagonists, requiring us to view the gallery not only spatially, but socially, positioning ourselves within their exchange. As the door swings out, it moves to align itself with the fixed marker of the girder, its only constant. They reach out to each other. At that moment, the small, near unnoticeable switch which occurs in the equally elongated abcdefghijklmnopqrtsuvwxyz seems to take place – a tiny, structural fission.