My practice thrives upon the production of sensory reactions, such as the concepts of silence, serenity, contemplation, observation, delight, inhabitation and disconnection from an addictive digital world, to live and experience the wonderful, physical and material rich world.
Based on strong constructivist geometry from the 20th century and heavy influence from my training as an architect, I produce paintings, drawings, models, collages, sculptures and installations with an aesthetic of the ethereal semiotic. I assemble materials by testing paintings, objects, structures and their settings until the elements connect to their surrounding spaces to create a dialogue between each other. I intend, as Jorge Oteiza used to say, to activate the objects in my work. I use different materials to achieve this activation: paper, plaster, acrylic, metal, paint.
I aim to provoke the emotions Father Feijoo once contemplated: "…Such things have a certain secret, they please us, enchant us, they bewitch us and it is not necessary to ask for a clearer revelation of their natural mystery".
These poetic assemblages try to generate a mindful sense of presence within a space: an experience arrived at through the composition and presence of materials, the handling of proportions and the effect of light, a quiet interplay of atmosphere and potentiality.
I intend to incite a sensorial trip with elements placed together and interlocked in space to achieve a spatial experience. These elements enforce mindfulness through the act of observation, to be patient, to accept, to inhabit the space physically and mentally, to disconnect from the digital world and enjoy the static and timelessness of the work.
Solo Show, Vangar Gallery, Valencia,
BP Gallery, Madrid, July 2019
Esperas, Omms y Fukeis
BP Gallery, Madrid, June 2019
Espaceografía - Anton - Aiguabella
Vangar Gallery, Valencia, April 2019
1D3byNomos Gallery, San Diego, March 2019
Vangar Gallery, Valencia, December 2018
BP Gallery, Madrid, October 2018
Pecha Kucha - Spaceography
Colegio de Arquitectos Vasco Navarro, Pamplona, October 2018
MFA Degree Show
UAL, Wimbledon College of Arts, London, June 2018
One that holds everything
The Crypt Gallery, London, November 2017
Life in a shoe box
Back Room Gallery, London, April 2017
17 sqm - Space 272
UAL High Holborn, London, October 2016
With (Out) - Pink privacy violation
Something Human, London, December 2012
Master in Fine Arts. University of the Arts London, Wimbledon College of Arts. [October 2016 - June 2018]
Master in Architecture. University of Navarre.
[September 2006 - June 2013]
My work thrives upon the idea of repetition of simple elements and apparently the same in order to consider the relation of the binomial individual-collective.
Based on nature, where this relation is seen constantly, all the leaves of a tree are different if we consider each one but the same if we consider the tree.
I work repeating strokes and marks on linen, different textiles and cotton paper. All the while my practice is surrounded by an aesthetic sense where colour is co-protagonist.
My aim is to generate an interest in the act of observation to apparently repeated elements but absolutely unique if we look closely and we grasp its individuality. The impact of the idea of space will emboss its collective relation.
How many elements does a collective unit need to get formed?
Solo show, Vangar Gallery, Valencia,
Esperas, Omms y Fukeis
BP Gallery, Madrid, June 2019
Espaceografía - Anton - Aiguabella
Vangar Gallery, Valencia, April 2019
1D3byNomos Gallery, San Diego, March 2019
Vangar Gallery, Valencia, December 2018
BP Gallery, Madrid, October 2018
With (Out) - Pink privacy violation
Something Human, London, December 2012
Master in Architecture. University of Navarre.
[September 2007 - June 2013]
KOKORO, Javier Antón (curator and text), 2021 Bea Aiguabella Solo Show at Galería Vangar
Nuestro yo más intimo:
allá donde se funden el corazón, el alma y la mente
En un mundo que va cada vez más rápido a pesar de haber pasado por una pandemia global, la artista Bea Aiguabella nos invita con esta exposición a una actitud más contemplativa: la _slow life_. Su lenguaje visual, cercano al universo formal japonés, pretende resaltar y rescatar valores presentes en esa cultura como son la artesanía, la paciencia, el rito, la repetición, la secuencia, el ritmo reposado, la penumbra y el juego calmado de pequeñas variaciones.
Los griegos tenían dos modos de medir el tiempo, el Kronos (kρόνος) y el Kayros (καιρός). El primero hacía referencia a lo cuantitativo, a la secuencia, y el segundo a lo cualitativo, al valor de cada instante. En esta exposición, Bea representa el valor de lo cotidiano elevado a la trascendencia, la kairización del Kronos. Podríamos decir con Junichiro Tanizaki que “eso que generalmente se llama bello no es más que una sublimación de las realidades de la vida”.
En Kokoro, Bea nos muestra su proceso creativo como si de un laboratorio se tratase, siguiendo los pasos de Hella Jongerius y sus moodboards para Vitra. Las variaciones cromáticas de figuras y fondo, materializan las teorías de interacción del color de Joseph Albers y muestran lo distinto que se percibe un mismo color sobre fondos dispares. Este juego evidencia a su vez las diferentes sensaciones que se producen en el sentimiento y la razón como explica Eva Heller.
Comisario: Javier Antón Sancho
AMBIENTOMETRÍAS, Javier Antón (curator and text), 2020 Paul Antón Solo Show at Galería Vangar
La obra de Paul, como es lógico por su formación, siempre ha estado cercana a la disciplina arquitectónica. Muchas de sus obras han girado en torno a temas como el espacio, el trazo, y la formalización matérica. Y han bebido de fuentes como Henry Moore y la escuela vasca (Oteiza, Chillida), pero expresadas en muchas ocasiones con semiótica japonesa, donde la sutileza, el valor de lo estético, lo aséptico, la serenidad, el silencio y la pureza de la forma han sido la base de su lenguaje.
En esta exposición, Ambientometrías, el artista nos lleva por un recorrido plástico personal que representa la evolución del habitar, el proceso de la domesticación del ambiente por parte del hombre.
El itinerario empieza con las Orografías (Parte de la geografía física que trata de la descripción de las montañas) como primera aproximación al terreno. En el siguiente paso se encuentran las Estereotomías (Arte de cortar piedras y otros materiales para utilizarlos en la construcción), donde se concreta la primera escala del habitar en el terreno por parte del hombre: la cueva. En un tercer nivel, ya más avanzado, se encuentran las Dasonomías (Estudio de la conservación, cultivo y aprovechamiento de los montes), donde el habitar se construye a partir de elementos naturales, no de espacios preexistentes: la cabaña. Y en el último grado, el de mayor sofisticación, están las Tectonías (Perteneciente o relativo a los edificios u otras obras de arquitectura) donde el habitar se contiene, se controla, se regula y se modera para mayor disfrute del espacio compartido.
Comisario: Javier Antón Sancho
WebfolioSPACEOGRAPHY, Paul Antón, 2018, MFA Degree Show Webfolio
I. THE PHOTOGRAPH
Propotions, colour and materiality perception
What I presented in Unit 02 was a piece formed by objects connected among themselves and the surrounding space, generating relationships. The piece had the sense of being a sentence of objects, with one word being followed by another sequentially across the floor. Using a variety of materials the sentence was punctuated creating an unfolding rhythm.
I was suggested that increasing the self referential character of the work would improve it, such as the photograph in the back of the mirror. From a distance the possibility that it might work better as an image (a photograph) rather than a physical object seem to suggest itself. I researched how, as an image, it could work better since it brings this interesting ambiguity, what the object really is, the possibility that those objects may represent other ideas? They place the observer in this fictional space, instead of understanding this is a sculpture, it is an illusion around the idea of framing, something that it may or not may be real, a photograph. You know what you are looking at but there is a sense of illusion all the while. I went further into the idea of perception, including self-referential elements such as the photograph and spending time on the production of photographs to the work trying to look for allusions. It is comparable to St. Theresa's from Bernini. In all these sculptures climbing the walls until they reach a hole in the ceiling so you are seeing the sky, God. Only if you are at that point you can sense the illusion. You must stand there to see this illusion. Controlling the way you look, takes someone's perception.
Jan dibbets, perspective correction
I studied Jan Dibbets’s work after having had gained an interest in illusion and the perspective game of perception created in ‘The Photograph’.
Jan Dibbets’s ‘perspective correction’ work was curated in a park in Amsterdam. It is concerned with illusion and reality, the difference between what the camera sees and what the eye sees. As its title suggests, Dibbets wanted to 'correct' the perspective of a large area of ground. He decided to use light coloured rope that would clearly mark off a cross shaped area of grass. He used the ropes so that they would appear to be in the same plane as those at the bottom of the photograph.
By making the viewer aware of the other nature of the photographed image, Perspective Correction relies on illusionism, setting on end the laws of perspective. I found very interesting using the perspective game as the tool in the creation of a successful window into another world, into a more perceived framed space.
Critical discourse based in illusionism had been brought into writings by the Minimalist artists actively showing in Europe at the time. This new illusionism no longer wanted to fool the viewer, but be structural and appealing. In other words, Perceptual Abstraction, like Dibbets’s Perspective Correction, relied on the viewer’s recognition that what he sees does not exactly operate in the way in which he expects. The work’s meaning and impact lies in the actual, the perceived experience. I find this very interesting because invites the observer to be mindful in the act of observation as I will discuss later.
I use photography to guide you to see the connection I want you to see, in order to show you how that detail or connection is generating a particular space. This, in a way, revolves around the idea of the search of Magic and the alchemy. The photograph becomes important because the lens takes away something from the connection and you may think it is completely digitally generated but it is completely analogic. A certain detachment occurs in the camera allowing an examination and separation of the subject. In the work, the lenses will reveal what can be feed back into the physical work and vice versa.
I was seeking, unconsciously, a resemblance to something I may have seen in the chaotic world of information. We live in a world saturated by images and information. I want the audience to wonder what my setting is, trying to make a connection to something they know. By looking mindfully, they can achieve a sense of something that resembles something. Strange resemblances of something half recognisable, to invite you to reflect on how many images you are digesting throughout the day, without considering any of them.
I. INTERLOCKED SETTINGS
A connecting game
The connection between the objects and devices have an interlocking character where things seem to be potentially connectable to form one only mass occupying the space. As there has been a decomposed unit in many other units making a story of connections and “interlockings”. It feels like a system where one thing leads to another and the one thing is causing the fall of that cube or ball. Something that triggers a chain reaction and a visual game starts where everything is connected in a cause and effect nature. This is done to unfold the space and, therefore, suggest having an awareness of the space, like a technical specification information sheet of the character and nature of the voids in that space. A way to describe the room.
It also depicts the architectural journey of the urban landscape where it goes from high density schemes to more dispersed construction. It also to a minor scale of designing a building where the atrium leads to the lobby and the lobby to the lift shaft and then to the office working space. With details such as the break out areas and tea points, acting as a metaphor. This is something to be walked by, like the Le Corbusier promenade. The poetic of the walk through space to achieve an experience.
All these forms and devices relate to each other in an architectural manner. Unit Voids are generated as interlocked entities in the structures are in the space. This play of connections starts on my paintings and drawings. I plan relations of forms that I then translate into relations of objects and structures in the space. How the black mass leaves a void in the contiguous figure in the Mugak series, which is then translated into how the void is generated in a corner of one installation. The painting and the generation of forms is the feeding tool to then design components to manipulate the space like a surgeon. The notch is coincidental with the volume of the ball and it gives a sense that that void has been generated by the disoccupancy of that mass and that new mass is the ball being transformed in form but with the same mass volume.
After generating the forms, I build units that may interlock with one another making drawings that have a lot of possibilities for connection but there is no pre plan. When units are made to connect them into devices and then structures I go to the space and then look for architecturally given conditions, such as the cables on the ceiling or a plug socket or a line in the floor. Then I adapt to the space and start looking for connections and alignments among the units and devices and with the containing space.
I arrived at a point where I realised that I had to move from ‘making items’, such self-contained objects and experimenting more with what it is given. Rather than the actual piece, the relationships were its dependence with the space it inhabited.
You can sense the relation between different materials that moves you away from anything you know. It was like an arched precision, something appearing correct but it also looking as it had happened accidentally. I was encouraged to move away from modernism to postmodernism. The modern world is ruled by the control over outcome, everything perfectly planned. Working in this new mindset, I moved to a more postmodernist approach, something that may or not may be, something that is not absolutely planned and happened by accident as if I were performing an experiment in a laboratory.
I used Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring for the video on the landing page of the Webfolio. Stravinsky’s music marks the beginning of postmodernism in high classical art. He embraced atonality, and rhythmic structure and energy over harmony and even melody.
My interest started to lay on the actual curation of objects playing with their position within the space. As a painter originally, I did not dismiss my paintings and collages because they were depicting what I was pursuing with my installed sculptures and transformed objects. I was defining shapes through drawings, paintings and collages aiming to frame and shape the procedure. I was then forming sculptural installations and displays of objects to frame the actual encapsulating space.
V. A RATIONALIST GAME OF DESIGN
The materiality and the ready made
In the 20th century the world of design and architecture have created all sort of standards based on the needs of measurements and connections between different materials and fittings. However, there was a time when a decision was made on the measurement of something that will later compromise a lot of other designs. I rationalised all measurements on my settings creating my own stupid system so they interlock. I do this to make fun of all this world of standards in the design and building world. I then reduce all measurements of elements to 0,1m - 0,3m - 0,5m - 1,3m - 1,5m so that all answer to a language and system of measurements just like the design world over the 20th century.
I also include slightly altered objects already made from the design world. As if the whole installation is a set design to show a product on a shop front. Something that adds humour to the ironic rationalist approach and constructivist language of platonic worlds. Suddenly, a clean minimal block is listening to pop rock through earphones.
I also included design elements that are not clearly recognisable, like the lino cut square guide. Most people don’t know what it is for, but it is clearly a ready made object that even contains the European CE mark and an industrial label. Something that invites you to wonder because it is ready made but within the language of the setting, of the installation.
Takeo Papershow, Subtle
Takeo Paper Show as one of Japan’s foremost paper manufacturers. They host an annual paper show, showcasing the ways in which the delicate medium can be used in innovative and imaginative ways. The 2014 edition was focused around the theme of SUBTLE and offered fifteen designers, architects, artists and makers to present their own interpretation on the subject.
Curated and directed by Kenya Hara & Nippon Design Center, Hara design institute, the show invited creators such as Junya Ishigami, Torafu Architects, artists Jinah Ham and Motohiro Tomii to utilize their own personal perspectives and rise to the challenges presented by the word ‘subtle’.
Takeo Paper Show describes: ‘paper itself is not inherently delicate. It is the perception elicited by paper in the user that is delicate. Paper is white and resilient. Its qualities affect us, awakening and nurturing, exquisitely acute sensory perceptions that enable us to perceive even infinitesimal distinctions. experiences rich with sensory perceptions are cultivated and realized, thanks to this white medium, fragile, easily soiled, gracefully evolving. Our senses enable us to perceive degrees of flatness, smoothness and softness imperceptible to precision measuring devices, they detect differences in colour and flavour, indiscernible even by the most advanced sensors. here lies human happiness, within which the flesh and blood savor to the fullest a rich world by maximising the inherent potential of sensory perceptions. Not by trying to live our lives as conveniently as possible – by using our bodies as little as possible – but rather by mobilising all our sensory perceptions to relish the subtly of the world in which we live will we discover the joy and volition of living with the whole body. Takeo Paper Show 2014 is an experimental exploration around the theme ‘subtle’, an attempt to locate the roots of the allure of paper, that enigmatic incentive to the human experience.’
I found this exercice very interesting since it is researching a material, as I will later discuss Sarah Pichlkostner optimisation of materials. It revolves around the idea of how the material is perceived and it is a great photographic project that emphasizes on my own ideas of perception. All this done within a design industry panorama, in which encapsulates the world where I am come from, a very modern approach and this is the irony I want to highlight. Bringing humour to this design world.
Regarding the specific use of materials; I use the mirror as a window to another space, as a hole in space and time. Because not only it is helping towards the experience embodying the space but perceiving it, that is why a mirror would change your spatial experience. I use the neoprene because it tints the white elements and the space in a very subtle way. I moved away from plaster because it had a very crafty connotation and I moved to more polished and lacquered surfaces from the design finished materials world. Also, the steel, a structural element used in architecture and in the design world in general. The actual set of objects are displayed as if they were something decomposed and as if you were join them together they would perfectly interlock. Making connections, making you think, making you stare. I began to add details, something that gives scale but at the same time confuses you, you don’t know if whether you are in a very big structure or small structure. Something that makes you think of scale but in the end, you realise scale doesn’t matter to have a reaction among objects in the work.
The scale in the pieces seems ambiguous, potentially architectural, sometimes there is nothing in the sculpture to say how big it is. This encourages the illusion and the perception in the fictional space. I have been adding designed elements, readymade, as aforementioned, such as the ear defenders to surprise you in this world of fictional scale to generate a macro world or a micro world but preserving the ambiguity of the scale. This insertion of ready made elements is done to make a humorous critique around design in general. This potential scale invites you to play and investigate these ideas around perception.
Sarah Pichlkostner, The show at Annet Gelink Gallery
I was directed to study the work of Sarah Pichlkostner. The show at Annet Gelink Gallery is focused on the representation of time, space, self-optimization, productivity, self-reflection and empathy created by objects. Through a thorough study of the behaviour of materials, that combines effortless contemporary methods with laborious and outmoded fabrication techniques, Pichlkostner reflects on the social behaviour of and towards objects. Pichlkostner often refers to her works as settings, in which different elements become characters in a dialogue with the space, each other and the viewer. Productivity converges with emotion, calling viewers to wonder if it’s the object we’re looking at or rather ourselves. I enjoy this since I was attempting this in my self-reflection and observation since the beginning of my work when I discovered the Fernanda Gomes show at The Alison and Jacques Gallery. Sarah Pichlkostner creates a setting in which the objects seem on the cusp of failing but are trying their best not to: a frozen moment where the time of collapse corresponds to an emotional collapse and the promise of a speculative future becomes aimless. As the artist stated: “When material is brought to an object, i.e. is made into one, and the function of this object is continuously developing over time, then the object is ultimately reflecting us.” I respect the way her settings enter in a very specific dialogue among themselves and the containing space. Playing with perception using the glass and the merging this with an architectural background, in my opinion, is superb.
I went to Fernanda Gomes show in Alison Jacques gallery, knowing very little about Fernanda. I often visit Alison and Jacques gallery for each new exhibition they launch since I enjoy the Artist´s work they display there. When I entered the actual room, I feel I enter a new state of existence. It feels like I were on another celestial body or in another galaxy, I will talk about the freedom of history later with ‘the poetic of space’ by Gaston Bachelard. The actual objects required very little craft but the composition and the manipulation of the light had an impact on me. It was more of an experience rather than staring at something. The mysteries of the plane in three-dimensional paintings had so many possibilities. The felling of the pausing of time meant that you could live there, it felt very uncommon. I felt like I was participating in a session on mindfulness on some a foreign space, somewhere very far from the body, from my physical self. The painting and sculptures demanded immersion in its own visual language. I just needed to see, to be fully present, sensuously. It was like an eloquent silence. I enjoyed the visual juxtapositions where something looked undecided until you discover it is a different plane, or something looked illuminated but it reflected light by something very purely white. I feel I saw a correct use of objects through composition. This helped me to immerse myself into this world of composition of objects. Additionally, this made me have a unique experience. This encouraged me to move away to deal with a specific piece whilst creating a relationship between objects, materials and light. I enjoyed the apparent lack of colour as it was rich in many kinds of whites. I wondered how that could be adding different kind of oranges and different kind of fuxias… an endless universe of composition to get a sensorial experience of a world of abstraction.
I have read Poetics of Space by the French Philosopher Gaston Bachelard published in 1958. This book has been a great influence in architecture and in many other disciplines. He maintains this special attention to spaces.
I found it very interesting because one of the things he states is that this spatial experience can be acquired by being in certain spaces. The idea of having an individual experience when you are in a space. It could be a pleasant experience or a bad experience, influenced by proportions, colour and materials.
He covers all kinds of spatial conditions; the corners, the inside and outside, the house as a shelter, the universe as a shelter, the furniture, the nests, the cells, the miniature and immense… He does an exhaustive study around the home, the room and the actual objects in the room.
I enjoyed his chapter on immensity. He talks of the lake as the earth’s eye, and that is why I found it interesting playing with mirrors and reflections, as a window of space. The space is not only lived in, you embody it by the way you perceive it. Therefore, when you see a gate to another space through reflection you are experiencing a completely different space and having a completely different experience. Even though that space only exists in the world of perception. He plays with the perception of words (poetry) and the space, the way we perceive concepts. One example is when he says, ‘my heart is a little larger than the entire universe’ when he talks about immensity. I think that quote is very subtle yet stating a very great and grand concept. I feel it is talking through spatial sensations.
I also noticed (as I experienced visiting Fernanda Gomes’ show) that he is talking about a liberation in our consciousness, freeing us from our own history by being mindful. When reading a poem or experiencing a space, since you look at it with a mindful attitude and without a will to take a judgement. This means you are automatically liberated by all your context and history. You become the main role of the poem and of the space, you embrace and enjoy silence.
Also, I discovered that The Marian Goodman Gallery did an exhibition around Poetics of Space curated by Anja Isabel Schneider in 2009. I found the exhibition’s photos and texts very interesting and educational to my practice.
This allowed me to draw special attention to what I had been practicing since 2015: the mindfulness exercises.
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one´s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment which can be developed through the practice of meditation. The term mindfulness is a translation of the Pali term sati which is a significant element of Buddhist traditions. It is used to develop self-knowledge and wisdom that leads you to the enlightenment or the catharsis. An awareness of observation.
I see this experience at Fernanda Gomes show and reading Poetics of space connecting with these mindful exercises. Where you liberate yourself of your own history and you contemplate yourself from outside without taking any judgement or action. Just being and seeing, being fully present. I like to understand the link between mindfulness and the precise dialogue of my structures. I am in pursuit of a perfect composite catharsis where all elements would work just exactly right (among them and within the containing space), as if they were in that state of enlightenment and catharsis. A mindful composition traveling game towards an enlightenment catharsis of just observing and perceiving the space. A total experience without any judgement.
Fargo T.V. Series
I found the ´Fargo´ TV series very appropriate to consider within this scenario of mindfulness.
Fargo is an American comedy-crime drama anthology television series created and written by Noah Hawley. The show is inspired by the 1996 film written and directed by the Coen brothers.
This is a true story, says the on-screen message, untruthfully, at the start of Fargo. The events depicted took place in Minnesota in 2005. At the request of survivors, the names have been changed.
I read this as the writer telling us how possible this could be (in a smaller scale), the possibilities of all horrors we can all enact and the miserable people we all are. The events weren’t real but they are real in the way of a reflection of our everyday lives. There is an atmosphere, the possible hilarity in such horrors, the themes of human weakness, violence and masculinity, that good men can do bad stuff, and that can be very funny. There is something dreamlike about the experience.
I like to connect this fact with the mindfulness exercises. I think the whole TV series is a mindful exercise around human kindness, weakness and misery. The stories are told in a way they make you aware of the human errors we make daily. All of this is mixed with white landscapes and silence that invite you to think. Then there are these huge highway petrol station posts connecting to the reality of American society, as a totem to weakness and the fact we are very limited beings capable of making any unwise mistake. Sculptural objects in the vast whiteness.
I also found reading of ´In praise of Shadows´ interesting and the Japanese culture of the Wabi Sabi. Jun'ichirō Tanizaki discusses traditional Japanese aesthetics in contrast with change. Comparisons of light with darkness are used to contrast Western and Asian cultures. The West wants progress and light and constant change while the Asian have a singular appreciation of the shadows. The subtle and the mindful act of observing. Again, I like how the author treats the act of looking through the shadows and the quietness, a mindful exercise of observing the lack of light and the Japanese Tokonoma, the silence of the shadow. The looking to something in a mindful way and not expecting any change, not making any judgements. Tanizaki explores in close description the use of space and its perception in the Japanese culture versus the dazzling light of the modern age. In this way, I enjoy, in my own installations, how the pink spreads a shadow over the white surfaces, which in intentionally subtle. It is like an exercise of contrast, without speaking loudly, inviting you to observe and look at the details.
After all this, I am seeking a specific relationship between objects and making them enter a precise dialogue. How you can activate a space to be seen by anyone with a capacity of sense and have an experience. I remember in my early architectural trips at Uni when I went to buildings by Le Corbusier in France, La Tourette (A monk’s monastery in the woods), and felt something very special in the different chapels and rooms because of the proportions of the containing space and the objects within, the relationships of materials and the use of colour. Something very specific that generated in me an experience, something sensuously pleasant. I like to call the work towards this experience spaceography.
I struggled to find the suitable colour. I failed using too much orange that had totalitarian connotations and missed the white as the receiver of the clouds of colour generated by those coloured moments. I realised that the majority had to be white and then dashes of colour that can spread an orange light through all the whiteness. This is done to pursue the feeling of the atmosphere, to help you have the spatial experience. The subtleness of that delicate bath of colour makes you have a sensorial experience and to be fully present. As if it were trying to grasp the silence. I found very interesting after seeing one installation, Catherine H. told me that it was just lacking a summer pool, as if to say, it is so calm, relaxed and tranquil in here!
Peter Zumthor, Atmospheres
Talking about this experience generated by atmosphere I would like to talk about the work of Architect Peter Zumthor and his book Atmospheres. I experienced his designed architectural spaces myself as I visited them during a research trip through Switzerland in January.
Atmospheres is a poetics of architecture and a window onto Peter Zumthor’s personal sources of inspiration. In nine short, illustrated chapters framed as a process of self-observation, Peter Zumthor describes what he has on his mind as he sets about creating the atmosphere of his spaces.
The composition and “presence” of the materials, the handling of proportions and the effect of light, these poetics of architecture are what really matters in the process of designing a home. Materials react with one another and have their radiance, so that the material composition gives rise to something unique. Interiors are like large instruments, collecting sound, amplifying it, transmitting it elsewhere. This represents the shape peculiar to each room and with the surface of materials they contain, and the way those materials have been applied.
When I was travelling through Switzerland with a rented 4x4 car making my way through the heavy snowfall and stopping in the Zumthor building. I thought about daylight and artificial light. I must admit that that daylight, the light touching elements of the building, were so moving that I felt a spiritual quality to it. It gives me the feeling there’s something beyond me, something beyond all understanding. I am very glad that there is such an evocative feeling in Zumthor designed spaces.
Peter Zumthor has described what constitutes as an architectural atmosphere by saying “this singular density and mood, this feeling of presence, well-being, harmony, beauty…
I experienced all that amazingly well on my research trip on Switzerland.
XI. FORM AND MATTER IN SPACE
I am a fully qualified Architect with a diverse range of professional experience. I believe receiving my Masters of Architecture has made me incorporate a greater humanistic dimension within my work. The study of Art history, the analysis of form, composition, concept and abstraction. These elements were studied through graphical experimentation are inherited into my art practice. I ensure these methodologies embody my Architectural work in parallel with the highly technical output I am required to produce as an architect.
I believe that the key aspects that have helped form my artistic process has been the successful marriage of my artistic skills with the architectural discipline. As I studied architecture I begun to understand how form and function could be analysed and represented. Through experimentation and rigorous study, I began to see the built and unbuilt world in a new light.
For me, drawing became a language, a tool in which I could summarise my thoughts and abstract reality. It became my graphical expression of the world.
My work is therefore heavily influenced by architecture, my artistic technique is a thorough process. This process, although stems from architecture, has begun to take a life and meaning of its own. It is the driving reason that I wanted to further study the subject. I have arrived at the point where I do not like to categorise art and architecture as separate entities.
In 'Paper Laborotegia' read in Unit 01 I noticed the influence it had in my practice and continues to do so. This book is about Jorge Oteiza Laboratory of paper. A eulogy about process’ in Art, mainly through drawings. I realised this tool is essential to my process. Then, as a journey through XX century Art history, the book explains the artists that had influenced Jorge Oteiza: Mondrian, Van Doesburg, Gropius, Malevich, Popova, Van Der Leck, De Chirico and Matisse.
My first reference when I started the MFA was Jorge Oteiza. I started to study the body of work of Oteiza and his influences. I spent weeks going through interviews made to Oteiza in his later years. I was moved by his idea of using composition to activate spaces through sculptures trying to arrive at aesthetic paradigms.
Many events have happened over my MFA and I considered many other sources for research and I experienced an expected evolution and progress but, like a bike, I realised I am still going. The idea of activation of the space through a play of voids, just like Jorge. In my installations and devices, I look for the situation when a void is generated so you can feel the space with unclear physical boundaries or frames. A hint of what is contained in that cube or prism. A feeling of a border or a frame that is making you be aware of the actual space and perceive it in a certain way. In the beginning I focused on activating space in self contained sculptures but after the first exhibition when I displayed my Arkitekton pieces, forming a line dissecting the room, I moved to focus more into changing the containing space and the relationship among objects rather than the actual unitarian object sculpture. On the second unit I moved towards the relationship among the objects and experience in the containing space. In the final unit I believe an atmosphere is generated in the containing space.
In the beginning of the masters I was aiming to frame the form, trying to control the masses representation. I did a series of forms framed in a square (representing a cube) and then doing an exercise of trimming that mass with one goal: to frame space. They are representations of section cuts of a volume. I then explored the framing of mass representation within the void (See Leihoa). Rather than playing with representation of the volume, I placed the framed volumes within a white space. The interrelation along different volumes creates a play of composition within space, with many possibilities. Looking for a composition in space generated by the relationship of the different elements. A living process where the composition can always change and new spatial relations are discovered in every new display.
I then approached the spatial representations with real volume and that was the beginning of the sculptures in my practice. I created three windows with prismatic volumes popping out in different directions. I then slashed them to frame the form and matter. I coloured the chopped prism in black to make a connection with previous representation of cut mass in black.
The last of these processes was another ‘slashing’ experiment. I did this in a larger scale frame and explored the space as an in between - compressed space. The most profound surface in the frame is coloured in black because it has been framed inwards. The gravity of the colour black makes an interesting effect in the frame, a game of composition and activation of space. Defining lines by the ‘slashing’ of the material through the shadow. An exercise of control, shape and tangible matter through the stroke, ‘the line’.
The first step was to frame the form in black as a depiction of mass in space and now these volumes were drawn and painted within a space frame. This was the beginning of considering perspective and how we perceive real space. The drawings are like an illusion of forms with the wrong perspectives, trying to fool the perceiver, as seen in Escher drawings. It is a challenge to one’s perception, trying to frame depictions of the previous forms I have worked on. The line is present on these, as the tool to shapes the boundaries of space. Again, those marks played a key role in this process. The limit, the boundary.
At unit 01 I was particularly interested in the generation of the form by the stroke and its later materialization. I am now more interested in its interaction with the surrounding space and the relation among the objects when they connect.