Fuck Architects: Chapter 1
Lombard-Freid Projects, New York
October 19 - November 24, 2007
Lombard-Freid Projects is pleased to present "Fuck Architects: Chapter 1", Mounir Fatmi's premier solo exhibition in New York.
"My father has lost all his teeth, now I can bite him." It was with this phrase and a series of horse jumps, that Mounir Fatmi physically blocked the entryway to the "Africa Remix" exhibition at the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris in 2005. The public was forced to pass through the bars of the sculpture in order to reach the exhibition. For the viewer, the problem was no longer how to see an artwork, but how to leave it. Thus one begins to understand that despite its aesthetic side, the work of Mounir Fatmi often functions like a trap.
For his debut show at the gallery, Fatmi presents several new works under the title, "Fuck Architects: Chapter 1". This project functions as a book comprised of three chapters with NY as its inaugural site. The second installment will be shown in the exhibition "Le Creux de l'Enfer" at the Center of Contemporary Art in Thiers (France) and the third and final chapter will be exhibited in the 2008 Havana Biennial (Cuba).
The "architects" in the title alludes to such forces in our society as religion/God, politicians and the role reality and simulacra play in our lives. Several questions are posed: how to resist the fascination that lies within the machine of spectacle and accept "true reality?"; who are these architects who construct our environment and can change our perception of everyday life?
Upon entering the gallery one is immediately confronted by "Obstacles", a sculpture made out of wood poles usually used as bars in horse jumps. Their placement within the space forces the visitor to navigate around them in order to enter the gallery. In many ways Fatmi's "Obstacles" can be read as "conversation starters or props for opening dialogue". They were presented in different institutional venues in recent years and under different configurations, becoming a recurrent theme in Fatmi's work.
"Skyline" (2007) is a reflection of such modern cities as Tokyo, New York, Dubai and Johannesburg, which the artist has visited over the years. Using blank VHS tapes to literally build up his fictitious cityscape, Fatmi's "Skyline" becomes a poetic frieze of recent urban histories. Voided of details, the minimalist aesthetic of this sculpture captures the homogenous nature of contemporary mega-cities that are becoming copies of one another. The black tape that is pulled out and streams beneath the VHS cassettes becomes their forgotten memories and their history in flux.
"Crutches" is a floor to ceiling sculpture built up from intertwined crutches of varying size. An object that typically functions as a form of support has been transformed into a precarious structure. One could recall Salvador Dali's painting "Sleep" (1937) where a huge disembodied head hangs suspended by crutches over an empty landscape. Fatmi's architectural dystopia is similarly "held up by the crutches of reality" (Dali).
Fatmi's sculptures speak about the fear of failure and the pressure of the society over its individuals.
These works are at the same time strong and vulnerable a perpetual reminder of our conflicted human nature.