I Stand Like A Mirror Before You
19.09.15 – 15.11.15
I stand like a mirror before you is the first Belgian solo exhibition by Leonor Antunes. The show takes in the entire KIOSK space with a specifically conceived ensemble of pieces, most of which are new sculptures. The site-specific sculptures of Antunes – who was born in Portugal and currently resides in Berlin – echo both their immediate surroundings and the history of 20th- century architecture, art, and design. At KIOSK, materials such as leather, brass, plexiglass and rope are incorporated in freestanding constructions, or folded and knotted according to traditional techniques into hanging net and grid pieces.
The titles and formal language of the pieces on display are informed by the visual strategies of filmmaker and choreographer Maya Deren and the weavings of textile artist Anni Albers. Antunes unravels the principles of construction underlying specific designs. She then makes an intuitive abstraction of them, for which she reverts to a practice of manual craft. The reduced, personalized form of reality that emerges from this creative process is placed in front of the viewer like a mirror.
Once the artist has fathomed and shaped a material’s physical and aesthetic qualities, its particular cultural history and that of its makers, she relates this material to the particular exhibition space. The space’s dimensions and proportions are brought into consideration to arrive at a composition that balances between a deliberately ordered pattern and a random tangle of textures, structures and surfaces, between hiding and revealing. New contrasts and perspectives are sought: from the vantage point of the open, hemicycle room, a single glance towards the corridor oversees the entire ensemble, while a dense network of possible lines of sight is revealed from the more enclosed cabinet rooms. Concepts of transparency and screening, rational geometry and spontaneous gravity tug and pull, in a delicate balancing act. The weavings, seemingly sagging carelessly, assimilate to the climate of their surroundings.
This search for balance originates primarily in the relation between people and spaces, and human interaction with surfaces specifically. The works’ surfaces are mat, reflective or transparent: they mirror each other and blend with each other or with the space surrounding them. Or, conversely, they stand out from the rest, clearly set apart and portioning off the space in fragments highlighted by natural light and five original floor lamps. This exhibition is not an enumeration of self-contained works of art, but rather a ‘grid’, in the broadest sense of the word. Bearing associations, that is, not only of a grate, a network or framework, but also of a web. As such, it can be seen as the basic structural component of the exhibition.
In line with the idea of the exhibition as grid, I stand like a mirror before you offers a multitude of possible paths and views, a balanced choreography that presents neither a single path to follow, nor a clear reflection in the mirror.
The exhibition I stand like a mirror before you was realized in cooperation with the New Museum, New York, where a different version of it was on view recently (24.06.2015 – 06.09.2015).