Reports

The title of the exhibition Walking through the Wall may sound as a game involving the transcendental or literally as a construction probe into utopian permeation.

Dominik Lang often creates site specific sculptural work and restricts their transferability. The location and architectural design of exhibition halls is in many ways the key source of inspiration and becomes an impulse for different interpretations of “sculptural work” within the cultural tradition as well as within its own physical presence. In the case of Dominik Lang the reference of institutional art criticism blends with the emphasis on contemporaneity, memory of style, but also with the sculptural process, material and matter of space. The freely developed dialogue within the framework of cultural memory of art history of the 20th century is constantly potentially present or on the contrary carefully developed as a theme or model of some works.

His exhibition projects responding to the functioning and space of the gallery reflects Lang´s longterm exploration aiming at defining the position of sculpture in contemporary art. His own mimicry with aspects of invisibility typical of his earlier work is changed for his emphasis on the confrontation of the viewer with material (Expanded Anxiety, Vienna 2013 – installation in the cellar of the Viennese Secession developing the Cubist heritage) and in some cases monumentality which functions in references to concrete inspirational events (Missing Parts, Rome 2013 – facing from plaster tiles on three floors of a gallery working with the reference to suprematism). The material of the sculptural work plays an important role in both cases with view to the remodelling of the space in the course of the creation of the work of art (exhibition).

For Lang the means to the formal reading of the gallery´s space is the characteristic groundplan. The exhibition space in Dům umění in České Budějovice is designed as a circular pass through five rooms. The central portative construction element dividing the rooms blocks the idea of a direct view of one large gallery room. Lang develops the idea of a unified „ideal space“. Instead of „getting rid“ of the central element, which would seem to be the obvious solution, the gallery is changed by the creation of a central sculpture. He shows the essence of the process of „walking through“ and the origin of visual and meaningful spatial mask, which should functionally change the space with accent on the work of art – the statue itself discovered as a hidden form in space.

The title „Walking through a Wall“ leads to descriptiveness and thoughts referring the origin of a visual mask, which is typically revealed for example in the history of modern architecture where the idea of ideal space based on concrete materials and technological function is contradicted by historians on iconic modern buildings where we can tell from photographs showing the process of building that what seems to be concrete may in some cases be brick covered by plaster and paint. It is a deception which may be explained as an acknowledged scenographic contraction, a mask making the impression of the entire ideal space easier.

At the exhibition in České Budějovice Dominik Lang does not develop a direct historical reference – except work with material – a reflection of the scenographic character of modern architecture is a sort of parallel to the developed sculptural work defined as a time-limited scenic composition. Dominik Lang in a sculptural complex develops the meaning of a visual scene serving a short-term purpose. A seemingly institutional change, Lang´s short-term view into the gallery lasting as long as one exhibition, openly develops thoughts about the model of spacial and visual masks related to unstability, program and running of exhibitions.

Martin Mazanec

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