Siobhán Hapaska in The Mobility of Facts
Bloomberg SPACE, London
30 September – 17 December 2016
The Mobility of Facts brings together three highly idiosyncratic objects that challenge a conventional notion of sculpture as having fixed concrete form. Each work asserts an unstable presence through distinct approaches to material, construction and scale. One way or another, they all engage with time to activate the contingencies of encounter and affect the viewer physically and psychologically.
Giueseppe Gabellone’s Verde Acido, 2012, is an enormous padded cotton quilt that would extend beyond the dimensions of the Bloomberg SPACE gallery if spread out flat. This bright monochrome textile is arranged across the gallery’s black granite floor tiles in soft folds that are inevitably displaced by the footsteps of visitors walking directly over it. The tactile familiarity of this object might appear comforting, but its excessive size gives it a disquieting presence.
In contrast, Charlotte Posenenske’s Series D Vierkantrohre, 1968 – 2016, consists of an interconnecting modular system of six steel elements that resemble industrial ventilation ducting. Economical to produce and endlessly versatile, Series D was conceived with the express intention that its elements could be refabricated at cost price and reconfigured according to the requirements of each new situation. This radical stipulation has allowed the work to elude historical rarefication and remain contemporary, since it continues to be available and adaptable to the needs of the present long after the artist’s premature death in 1985. At Bloomberg SPACE, Series D is suspended from the ceiling following the existing architecture.
Flanked vertically by Gabellone’s mute fabric and the flowing network of Posenenske’s galvanised conduit, a third sculpture is constantly trembling. Siobhán Hapaska’s a wolf, an olive tree and circumstances, 2014, is constructed from aluminium poles clad in synthetic wolf fur and clamped with forged steel components. Within this rigid framework, an uprooted olive tree is suspended horizontally by ratchet straps and persistently shaken by means of an electric motor. Replete with material and structural tensions, Hapaska’s sculpture is at once absurd and traumatic. As time passes, the relentless agitation of this unsettling apparatus causes the tree to shed its leaves over the gallery floor.
Installed to surround the viewer, these disparate works present a tangible yet resolutely uncertain mise-en-scène for the spectator to inhabit and explore.