Artists go with the Flow at MCADby Marianne Combs, Minnesota Public Radio
A bulletproof umbrella and a book riddled with holes don't seem to have much in common, but they are both part of a new exhibit at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design which explores time and the landscape.
Minneapolis, Minn. — The exhibit is called FLOW, and it's comprised of the work of three up-and-coming artists from Germany, Spain and Japan.
German artist Ulrike Heydenreich makes collages of idyllic ski slopes in the Alps using 1930s photographs. The scenes are hung on layers of transparent papers.
MCAD curator Patricia Briggs says the result is a collage that is also a three dimensional sculpture.
"The multiple layers of transparent papers get in the way of the clarity of these photographs," says Briggs. "That lack of clarity suggests memory, and a place that she desires to be in but can't quite see and isn't quite there yet."
In addition to the ten collages there is an accompanying video. Briggs says in both Heydenreich uses photographs of real places to create her own pristine fantasy landscapes.
Inigo Manglano Ovalle was born in Madrid, Spain, but now lives in Chicago. He makes both films and sculpture. He likes to use weather as a symbol for political unrest and violence. His yellow bulletproof umbrella stands out front and center in the MCAD gallery.
Monglano-Ovalle also has a 9-minute film in the exhibit, called 'Always After the Glass House.'
The artist has long been fascinated with the work of modernist architect Mies Van der Rohe. Monglano Ovalle heard that the right to smash the windows of a building Van der Rohe designed had been auctioned off at a charity event. He knew he had to capture the spectacle.
What he presents in his film is the aftermath. There is shattered glass everywhere, and two men with brooms are clearing it away. The video and sound are slowed down, so the broom sweeping the small pieces of glass in piles looks more like ice flow, or crashing waves. In the background, people in expensive outfits can be seen leaving the building, as though fleeing what might have been a terrorist attack.
"You know, a lot of video art is boring," declares Briggs. "It's not beautiful, and so who wants to sit and look at it? But this, I just think it's a very successful video piece because it has visual beauty and it doesn't matter if you get the narrative. It's nice to project whatever you want onto it actually."
Inigo Monglano Ovalle says for him the piece is both about letting go of his fascination with the architect, and our tendency as a culture to be reactive instead of proactive.
"It refers to that the condition we live in as a sort of perennial 'post event,'" says Manglano Ovalle. "We're in this condition, not being able to affect things. We're only being asked to react and respond."
Manglano Ovalle says he sees American society politically and culturally stuck in what he calls a "post-event."
The third artist is Noriko Ambe of Japan. Ambe is in the seventh year of a 10 year project focused on cutting paper. One of the pieces featured in FLOW is the book "Who's Who in American Art" which Ambe has bored into with an X-Acto knife to create what look like holes left by giant worms. It's as though our knowledge of art is eroding over time.
Many of Ambe's works are comprised of hundreds of sheets of paper neatly stacked on the floor. She's cut each sheet by hand, again with an X-Acto knife. The layers of holes in the paper flow into each other to create ravines and canyons. Curator Patricia Briggs says if they are maps, they're maps of moments in time and space.
"The present moment is nothing, it's always passing, it's fragile," says Briggs. "It's like we're in a current of time. So we have memory and we have future desire, and the present is constantly changing, and we're caught in this current of time."
Briggs says that's what these artists have all explored: our place in time. FLOW runs through June 27 at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
- All Things Considered, 06/18/2008, 5:35 p.m.