Monday, January 17, 2011

Working through the weekend

In honor of the great Martin Luther King Jr. and on his holiday, we've got volunteers, staff members and one Brazilian artist coming together to fabricate one pretty wild installation.  Henrique's background is as a painter.  To date, his installations have explored notions of surface -- the surface of a canvas, skin, fences etc.  Even when he's created fully 3-dimensional sculptures, the tend to look like enormous drops of paint.  For us, however, he has gone fully sculptural and imagined a tangle of roots, or maybe worms -- a la Kevin Bacon in "Tremor."  they are either busting out of the walls or holding them up -- right now, it's not quite clear.

strips of flexi plywood getting spritzed with water to enhance their flexibility

Henrique and volunteer, Walt, extending 2 more "roots" toward the north wall

Henrique has decided he wants to re-do the loop that coils around the column in the gallery, so here all the screws are being pulled out so that we can take it down and start over

We've also started installing Sandile's work, even though he won't arrive until the 22nd.  He works with fire and after months of trying to get a permit for him to burn in the museum, or in a warehouse in the region, or in the studios of a local art school... none of the options proved feasible and we decided to have Sandile make his art works in his own studio in Johannesburg.  He met with Henrique here in Washington DC last December and I went out to South Africa to meet with him, too, so the 3 of us had plenty of time to talk about how he wanted to create works in response to Henrique.  The crates containing his art works arrived a few weeks ago, so we opened them up to make sure the artworks arrived in mint condition and to think through how to hang them.  I've been on the phone most everyday with Sandile, so we've worked out a system that he's approved and the first work is up.  It's a modular, 15-part, 3-dimensional wall piece called "Spinal Diagnosis - a regenerate case no.1" and you can preview it here:

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