In the Collaborations sector of Art Cologne 2023 the galleries House of Chappaz and Joey Ramone presented a duo show with recent work by two artists in dialogue: Rotterdam based artist Maurice Meewisse and Madrid based artist Antonio Fernández Alvira.
Maurice Meewisse and Antonio Fernández Alvira. House of Chappaz and Joey Ramone at Art Cologne 2023. Cologne (Germany), November 19, 2023.
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The interconnectedness of body, space, politics and history is manifest in the ways both artists stage their work, piece by piece and as an installation. The individual works are explorations of a more autobiographical nature, connections of the artists’ past with stories they came across. Both artists work in principle in site-specific contexts, whereby they see the ‘site’ as part of a complex network of interests, projections and relationships.
Diving into the (re)discovering of a space primarily in an intuitive way, they think about space as a container for unrelated and unspoken stories, that are hidden deep into the structure of the objects. Within that they look for a discrepancy, a certain complexity or a potential hidden beneath the surface.
In Maurice Meewisse’s case the prevailing material throughout the presentation is scavenged wood because as Maurice sees it, it is alive, it is transformative and it carries its own history. The presentation will include a selection of works from the immersive installation “Isolators”, which originally contained 47 pieces of diverse sizes, made out of different types of wood, of different timelines with countless tales to tell and sourced throughout The Netherlands.
Maurice Meewisse uses the tree structure not only as a primary source for his sculptures, but also, as a medium to express the overlaid inter-personal, political, social and historical narratives. Through that exercise of extreme concentration of contexts, Meewisse creates certain space-related objects, where space is experienced more through time and history, rather than in a geometrical or empirical way.
For Antonio Fernández Alvira the starting point of “Memory of Form” is the reading or interpretation of the place and architecture for which this project has been produced: the Alhóndiga of Bilbao (originally created to store various foodstuffs, especially wine and oil), is understood as a container for containers.
The inherent characteristic of fluids to formlessness and flow and their ability to ‘imitate’ the shape of the container that holds them inspired Alvira to the creation of a laboratory based on the concept of the absence of memory of form and flow. Within this he seeks to put into practice the exploration and narrative of body-structure- recipient and fluid-content, using dialogue and analysis with the forms and architectural elements for which it was con-ceived. The resulting work is based on the containers that have traditionally been used to house and transport fluids, such as amphorae, vases, jars, jugs, glasses, bowls…etc. To this end, their shapes and materials have been studied by means of decomposition and fragmentation exercises, working with these vessels in their fresh production together with a potter – the last one of a long line of potters from a small village in the province of Huesca, the region where Antonio Alvira’s family comes from.
Both Meewisse and Alvira’s installations point to making of space within space as it were. They are not only concerned with the placement of the individual artworks but also and most importantly, the alteration of the context, which treats space as a symbolic medium and allows for new relationships and new imaginaries.