Means and Ends, 2016
Solo exhibition at Wilfried Lentz Gallery, Rotterdam
Conceived especially for Wilfried Lentz Gallery’s second floor space, Horvat’s sprawling installation takes its clues from the space itself – mirroring, mimicking, or extending some of its architectural elements.
Emanating from the central rectangle outlined by the four pillar posts and extending outward towards the walls and the edges of the room, Horvat’s maze-like construction uses the existing structural elements of the space to construct in and around it a kind of a parasitic structure consisting of pieces of wood anchored between the solid points of architecture – the pillars, the walls, the windowsills – connecting these different places in the room with a criss-crossing network of ramps, bars, and diagonals.
Throughout this landscape, pieces of wood – these basic building materials – are interspersed with a cacophonous selection of soft materials and objects, inserted between each piece of wood and the element of architecture onto which the wooden piece is leaning. The elements comprising the installation appear to follow a particular logic of spatial relations that alternates a soft item with a hard item in a kind of rhythmical visual pattern, in which the soft items act as buffers of sorts, tempering or softening the point of contact between two hard items.
The work playfully exploits two opposing affects created by jamming long pieces of wood between the pillar and points of the rooms architecture: on the one hand, the planks leaning against the pillar appear to aiding the stability of the pillars by providing additional structural support; whilst on the other hand visually unbalancing and destabilizing the pillars by pushing against them from different directions.
With its dominant slanted gesture, the work mirrors, or repeats the angled trajectory of the staircase at the back of the room, connecting the 2nd floor gallery with the floor above, as well gesturing towards the windows running along both side walls of the room at a height unreachable from the floor.
In that sense, pieces of wood running at angles across and meandering up and down around the space between the anchoring architectural points can be seen as connecting paths or bridges, drawing – as it were – tangible lines that connect the middle of the room with its periphery, whilst bouncing our eye from place to place in the room, leading it to travel along these provisionally balanced ramps. Taking us on a zig-zagging trajectory, this geometric structure-gone-awry becomes a kind of a 3-dimensionsional graph in space, a spatial drawing tracing numerous rises and falls, ascents and descents.
An inadequate scaffolding structure, which seems as though it might collapse readily from any attempt of using it as an actual means of travel, or as a ramp that promises to lift one from the ground.
As such, the installation speaks of the provisional and temporary nature of structures and of built space, bringing to the fore questions of balance and stability and enacting a particular conflicting aspiration of human beings towards being grounded, and at the same time, wanting to be lifted.
As well as evoking bridges and paths and their endlessly recurring gesture of ‘getting across’ – from point to point, from place to place, measuring distance in the process – Horvat’s rhyzomatic construction simultaneously enacts another obsessive gesture; that of dividing and partitioning, as the wooden planks create a complex-if-nonsensical structure of barricades and fences. Decidedly failing to deliver as ramps or paths, the wooden lines traveling across the room do however re-choreograph our movement through space, but they do so by necessitating that we duck, step over or walk around them – turning the gallery into a heavily divided landscape to be navigated.
Often working with gestures of spatial division and playful reorganization of spatial and social relations between objects, bodies, and elements of the built environment using gestures that playfully treat the physical space as a set of provisional and unstable propositions which can be undone, dismantled and imagined as something other than what they are, Horvat here continues her playful disregard for the solidity and permanence of the built space.
Following – as she usually does when working in situ – a certain logic of working with what is already there, Horvat here investigates the very basic spatial dynamics and relations between the elements of the space itself, while creating a navigable playground of sorts in the room that decidedly falls short of our desire for lift-off off the ground and that makes tangible our aspiration towards heights – both in concrete / physical and intangible terms.