“Can I step on it?” is a tight choice of works of artists from different generations, all dealing with the notion of horizontality and how to phisically, narratively and dimensionally they occupy that portion of the space, an opportunity of making evident the possibility of a flattened idea of sculpture, sometimes asking the participants to walk over them, some other times only suggesting and denying this simultaneously, all concepts that the title of the show coincisely attempts to summarize.
Originally toying with the idea of rugs and carpets, their symbolism and how this has traveled through time and cultures, often becoming the metaphor for an ideal journey thinking about the flying carpet in fairy tales, the show has developed into a broader vision, leaning more towards the way in which the scupltures occupy the ground, offering a view of the many approaches of the chosen artists, the wide spectrum of pespectives that the works open and the engaging dialogue they create.
From the striking power of a long sequence of square metal plates by Carl Andre, to the elusive capacity of Ian Wilson of playing with the notion of appearence and disappearance, filling that thin line between something and nothing with his ‘Circle On the Floor’ from 1968; the same concept explored by Henrik Olesen’s cast ‘Cable’, an ideal and camouflaging residue of how information and therefore power nowadays runs through, as much as Jason Dodge’s ‘Plant Life’, a work that pushes the idea of site specificity to its boundaries, with natural plant debris collected in the open in specific places and spread around as carried by a blowing wind. The carpet by Alighiero Boetti, from his solo show at Le Magasin in Grenoble ‘De Bouche A Oreille’ in 1993, which tells of a life fascination of the artist and constant exchange with the Eastern cultures in dialogue with the participation of others in the making of his own work, to the same kind of wish expressed by his pal Aldo Mondino, which ‘Mekka Mokka’ becomes a cultural crossover, blending the assonance of words with the suggestion of religious rites and daily rites, making coincide praying and the making and drinking of coffee.
The ‘Tapis de lecture’ of Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster invites to a different rite, playing with the idea of aggregation and thought and cultural exchange through a ‘sentimental education’ to be shared with the public, invited to read while sitting on a large carpet. Lara Favaretto’s sequence of building rusty tubes, only one of them covered in a bold hue of blue wool, deals with the possibility of looking at abstraction in an unconventional way, the seriality of the ‘system’ of tubes weathered by their patina broken by the appearence of color, suggesting even to walk on it at one’s own risk, given the precariousness of the surface laid on the floor. An ethereal feeling of the transience and the provisional, and of a hidden familiar order, is expressed by Phillip Lai’s ‘Skin and Bones’, next to the ideal patch of desertic land, or playground, filled with cigarette butts and scattered coins, like imagining the surface of faraway planets, which is Gabriel Kuri’s aptly titled ‘Donation Box’; surprisingly the association of three spare words literally materializes through Darren Bader’s ‘persian rug and/with tripod and/with sous chef’, the two objects and one human being mentioned in the title appearing in real as if from a piece of narrative in which the words can be freely associated by the viewer.
As part of the show also the long term installation by Mike Nelson, ‘Procession. Process. Progress. Progression. Regression, recession. Recess, regress.’, which takes place in the course of several months in the ‘In Residence’ space of the Gallery, which, quoting the artits’s words, had to appear ‘almost as a lost piece of Kemalist modernism’.