Can construction and art overlap?
I’ve always been obsessed with abandoned and dilapidated buildings in “safe” neighbourhoods, and the way construction sites just pop up out of nowhere, only to leave a big mess. Nothing is more beautiful to me than a building’s skeleton up against a flat blue sky. I walk around the city taking photos of the tops of buildings against such a blue sky, sometimes I turn them into drawings, but I’ve never really thought about it much.
Last week, I was walking up the stairs in the library to return a book and was taken aback by what I thought was construction taking place on the wall facing the stairs, where people tend to sit on the floor and finish their uncovered drinks and snacks. I noticed that it was in fact, not a two-person construction crew, but a conservation team updating the public art piece that extends from LB’s lobby throughout the building.
But what made this seem like construction? It could have been a performance piece. You never really know unless you talk to the artists.
Not long afterwards, I was passing by the FOFA Gallery in the EV building and noticed they were installing the new exhibition. Large pieces of drywall leaned against the vitrine and the floor was covered in plastic and spotted with buckets. A team was busy working away, patching walls and removing the old work. I thought about how interesting that was, them installing in the vitrine. They could be the art.
I wasn’t too far off with this. As a couple days later, I passed by again and noticed the large slabs (now covered in pink sludge,) plastic and buckets were still there, and the gallery was open.
It didn’t take me long to accept the piece as an ingenious—although highly wasteful—installation. The slabs of drywall were bare before. The pink sludge was spread across the surface specifically for this work. Would the artist reuse these panels in another exhibition? What would happen to the pieces?
MFA student, Lauren Chipeur’s s e e p a g e / s u i n t e m e n t came to be from a similar wavelength. After a happy accident in her studio, when Chipeur’s fridge leaked onto a material exploration, the artist began her infatuation with the removal (and spread) of one substance with another.
I like this kind of process-based work, when the act of making and that of installing becomes a performance in and of itself. And there is no good reason it shouldn’t be. (I later found out that Chipeur’s installation seeped out through the vitrine and into the carpet on the other side—amazing. And her website is still under construction, also very on brand here.)