From White Square to White Cube
Art history according to…
The miseducation of…
16 - 30 April 2015
[…] Marcel Duchamp [...] Kasimir Malevich [...] Paul Klee [...] Piet Mondriaan [...] Ad Reinhardt [...] Andy Warhol [...] Carl Andre [...] Sol LeWitt [...] Donald Judd [...] Robert Morris [...] Ellsworth Kelly [...] Richard Serra [...] Superstudio [...] Enzo Mari [...] Hans Haake [...] Hans Hollein [...] Jean-Pierre Raynaud [...] Daniel Spoerri [...] Teodor Graur [...] Vlad Nanca.
When cholera was mapped in Victorian Britain, they soon realized that the areas with no sewage and lack of hygiene in the bathrooms and kitchens were the most affected ones. Measures were taken to fix this and from there on the ceramic tiles tend to lose their decorative purposes and gain practical ones by becoming standard in every household's kitchen. In the 20th century, with the great help of Le Corbusier and functionalism, all of our kitchens have been equipped with grids of white tiles, looking more and more like hospital operating rooms than anything else. Nowhere has this been more visible than in the kitchens of Socialist apartment blocks of Romania in the 70s, where the 15x15 cm white tiles were omnipresent. In the same decade, a few thousand kilometers more to the west, in Italy, the radical architecture group Superstudio were proposing (a not so different) socialist utopia, with their flat, egalitarian Continuous Monument.
Borne along by a fashionable Marxist undercurrent, Superstudio developed an extreme aesthetic that looked like modernism run wild and yet purported to offer an egalitarian utopia freed from the cycle of consumption. Superstudio’s Continuous Monument, developed in a series of collages and storyboards in 1969, is a vision of total urbanisation. There is nature and then there is the city, a single giant structure stretching across the landscape. The city’s form is determined by a geometric accumulation of white cubes — and if cities can be achieved simply by multiplying these basic components then there is no need any more for architects.” Justin McGuirk, icon 001 (April 2003)
Nanca’s works in the exhibition are fragments of the grid proposed by the Continuous Monument as well as fragments of memories of the endless hours spent surrounded by the white tiles in the kitchen of his family’s apartment during his childhood and last but not leasts fragments of the 20th century art history grid as described by Rosalind Krauss:
Logically speaking, the grid extends, in all directions, to infinity. Any boundaries imposed upon it by a given painting or sculpture can only be seen according to this logic-as arbitrary. By virtue of the grid, the given work of art is presented as a mere fragment, a tiny piece arbitrarily cropped from an infinitely larger fabric. Rosalind Krauss, October, Vol. 9 (Summer, 1979)
Vlad Nanca thus proceeds to telling a subjective tale of art history in a personal universe of white tiles (with gentle add-ons), citing during the process for this experiment, the names of architecture and art history more or lesser known personalities that he identifies as essential in his endeavor.
Works in the exhibition
White on white
ceramic tiles on canvas
Plant Stand I, Plant Stand II
panel, ceramic tiles, ceramic pots, indoor plants
ceramic tiles on plywood, silicone
162 x 162 x 162 mm
watercolor on paper15 x 15 cm each
Exhibition curated by: Catalin Burcea
Thanks to: Alexandru Ciubotariu, Radu Comsa, Fabrik, Nona Inescu