Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Transformative and reflexive art

Art Plural Gallery and Streaming Museum present a new interesting public work by Tom Carr. ‘Arrival Departure’ by the Spanish artist is a digital video that shows silhouettes of urbanites who ascend and descend an escalator within the frame of a pinhole.

It’s a simple vignette of an instantly recognizable scene that tends to evoke contemplation about urban existence. Interestingly, while there is no escalator in the scene per se, the ubiquitous yet unique manner by which the people are moving is telling enough.

Tom Carr is known to reference staircases in his earlier sculptures. He never included figures, but insinuated human presence through the characteristics of the stairs. However, Arrival • Departure does quite the opposite. People are explicitly present but their environment is ambiguous.

However, reduced to mere silhouettes, these anonymous people are dematerialized, losing and regaining their shape as those ascending and descending the escalators cross paths in the two-dimensional space, where there is no distinction between foreground and background. They travel along the same path within the same space, and yet there is no communication. Depicting the individual as well as the archetype, the silhouettes portrays the universal condition of people in transit.

Tom Carr describes a hive of activity, where people constantly land and take off from hubs. Referencing airports and the capacity for human beings to be transported quasi-instantaneously from one place to another, the artist tells us about the loss of markers, about how people are flying over their life as if in planes. The work has already been shown on 23 BBC screens, in Melbourne’s Federation Square, and will soon be displayed in Bucharest as well as other many large-format public screens of the Streaming Museum across the world.

Tom Carr is internationally recognized for his formally-rigorous sculptural works, and since then he has gone on to create numerous large-scale projects, especially for outdoor public spaces. From monumental steel sculptures in Madrid to light sculptures in the French mountains, the prolific and versatile artist has materialized his creative vision in various locations all over the globe. Working with Swiss art dealer Frederic de Senarclens in 2010, Carr brought a site-specific light projection to Singapore’s shopping district. It transformed the sidewalk into a carpet of animated digital patterns, and was highly interactive.

1 comment:

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