Sunday, 21 February 2010

Simon Starling

Fabricated and manufactured in the metal workshops of Wihelm Noack oHG in Berlin, this artwork was made both with and about this famous metal fabricator. The film and sculpture installation cleverly integrates its media to its message. The filmic component of the installation consists of a four minute looping projection onto the wall of the gallery which reveals the construction and manufacturing within the metal factory, whilst the spiralling sculpture feeds the projector with the 35mm film, fantastically travelling throughout the sculpture before being projected onto the wall.

Image from Percolator Magazine website

This Visual Arts Review by Robin Laurence, gives a detailed description of the installation on show at the Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver:

'Starling, a Turner Prize–winning British artist based in Berlin and Copenhagen, is admired for projects that combine sculpture and performance and exhibit a high degree of craftsmanship. His work examines architectural history and revisits early-modernist forms, strategies, and technologies. Wilhelm Noack oHG is a film-and-sculpture installation that marries its media to its message in an extraordinary way.

The film component of Noack , projected onto a wall of the gallery, ranges through the century-old metal workshop in Berlin after which the piece is named . For much of the film, Starling's camera is mounted on a dolly trundling along the workshop floor past gatherings of tools, machinery, materials, and parts. The continuously looping film also features still photographs, sketches, and drawings of some of Noack's acclaimed products, including the tubular steel frame of the Barcelona chair, an icon of modernist design.

One work in progress glimpsed at the Noack workshop is the sculptural component of Starling's mixed-media installation. It's a tall, helix form, built in tubular steel and suggestive of a spiral staircase. It is reminiscent, too, of Marcel Duchamp's 1911 painting Nude Descending a Staircase , and of Vladimir Tatlin's 1919–20 Monument to the Third International , also considered modernist landmarks.

The gasp-inducing strategy here is that this kinetic sculpture is also the projector: the 35mm film travels the long and complex route of the entire structure before passing between light and lens. It's a wondrous work, filled with multiple allusions. Wow.'

- website

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