December 17, 2014
Mind-tickling exhibition on the powers of memorizing space
For The Herald
Instead of asking herself: how do I see myself, or how would I like to be remembered, the young artist, Florencia Levy (Buenos Aires, 1979), asks these questions of the space she exhibits at. What is this place? This seemingly antique architectural space of two rooms joined together with columns, a marble chimney, wooden floors, and surprisingly, no windows. What has it been? And, how has it been remembered?
Levy started with her project over a year ago — her focus being researching the place, but more so, the memory of the place. In a scientific manner she developed her research method, with a selection of 25 “respondents” who know or were invited to get to know the space. They were all given the same instructions: to look at the place meticulously. Afterward, she took one to four weeks to get back in contact with them for the survey in which they were asked for a description, and their association to it. The results from this investigation into the (imagined) memory of the space form the base of the show.
The exhibition is accompanied by a small publication in which Florencia Levy introduces her own train of thought, starting off from the materials the place is constructed of, to the people who could have possibly have built it, an “Ernesto” or a “Pablo,” for instance. She envisions them vividly in these rooms, leaning onto one of the columns — introducing how a physical context provides for musing and drifting off into one’s own fantasy. In the booklet she has also published the different responses gathered from her research and an interview with Pedro Bekinschtein, doctor in Neurobiology, researcher at CONICET.
The answers make you smile, as some of the respondents had not even noticed the very present chimney in the first oval space, for instance. Others were oblivious to its shape entirely. Was it oval? More endearing, though, is the imagination of the participants, which invites you to also let your association run free. Why could this palace or presidential oval office like space, which, according to several correspondents also easily a Kubrick movie background, not be a piano room, library or, my favourite, a skating rink?
The objects in the exhibition are the materialization of the answers found in the research. Central is a black and white photo the artist found in a catalogue of Maple, the previous owners of the place. Maple was a furniture company and used these Louis XVII-style rooms, as they called them, as showrooms of their furniture in miniature size. But now Florencia Levy has also included the display of reconstructions, based upon memory, association and imagination.
Where and when
Espacion de Arte, Fundación OSDE, Suipacha 658, first floor. Exhibitions: 26 casos sobre el recuerdo de un lugar and Yo, Nosotros, El Arte. Until May 3. Open: Monday to Friday, 12.00pm to 8pm. Free admission.