Check the Pasajes. Viajes por el híper-espacio photo set here
Moving through the imposing Greek columns made of neon that are reminiscent of typical ancient ones, immediately evokes the feeling that you are passing a threshold that is not just space. This evocation (the work is Untitled, 2008 by Cerith Wyn Evans) begins the journey through the exhibition “Pasajes, viajes por el hiper-space”, which opened in Laboral on October 6. The pieces are all selected from the collection of the gallery Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary in Vienna.
The intention of the curators (Daniela Zyman and Benjamin Weil, who made fleeting appearances during the press conference and were replaced on the tour by the eclectic Francesca von Habsburg, director and collector of the Thyssen-Bornemisza gallery) is to create a fluid tour; a movement through the exhibition space which parallels the depth of the visitor’s feelings. Through the physical and plastic works, visitors are invited to invade the dimension of art and re-read reality through it. Changes to modes of reflection may occur at various levels in this hyperspace, which on some level works to subvert everyday relationships with the notion of the ‘outside’.
Everyday objects, found in many of the works on show, may function as the proposed “gate” for this step. Ai Wei Wei’s huge, shiny table lamps (Traveling Light, 2007) employ abundant crystal pendants that wrap around wooden columns. These objects, once Ming Dynasty temple pillars and therefore rooted in the past, (perhaps) seem to illuminate a brighter future.
A jungle of horrible cheap lace, usually used for decorating kitchen windows, acts as a curtain for a claustrophobic video of women crushed up against glass windows. The lace suffocates the exhibition space in a similar way to how daily city life can trap individuals. “M10” (2004) by Monika Sosnowska is also an (ironic) suffocating work, whose identical doors, one inside the other, lead to unnecessary and ever-smaller spaces.
We do not find these symbolic transpositions in other works that are more concerned with physically represent a gap. The white ‘experience sculptures’ “Esqueleto Glóbulos” by Ernesto Neto, for example, constitute a fairytale space made of nylon, polystyrene pellets and fragrant spices. It is a self-supporting structure, with no rigid skeleton, which only stands through a delicate play of weight and gravity. Or consider “Y”, the well known work by Carsten Höller, which forms a ludic space able to create hypnotic hallucinations of flashing lights.
But stepping into hyperspace can also mean a movement entirely within the individual. The ego explodes, refracted into colors like a beam of light through a prism. “Your uncertain shadow” (2010, colour) by Olafur Eliasson is portrayed and interpreted by different pens. The 50 self-portraits of “Super-noi”, a work by Maurizio Cattelan, are reflected by multiple mirrors which are in continuous light movement (No History, Doug Aitken 2005), and which reflecting each other in a process with no beginning and no end.
Hyperspace can also be something that manifests itself through technology. Walking through the spider web of cables that mark the boundaries of the work “Asynchronous Jitter. Selective Hearing” (37’19”), by lorian Hecker, it is difficult to discern the source of the perceived sound: in any direction you move the sound always seems to come from loudspeaker in another part of the room, creating a (destabilizing) sound limbo. The Carsten Nicolai work “telefunken (wtc)” (2000/2010), offers a visual space to the sound: the signal of an audio CD player is connected to the video input of a TV monitor. The sound waves are captured as material particles and turned into something visible and tangible.
In the words of Francesca von Habsburg, the exhibition aims to highlight the idea that life can imitate art but not vice versa. But the dialogue between the proposed works and the real world is still open. The final sensation is that we broke through wonderful gates, we left behind us the columns of Hercules and magic mirrors.
When we return to the real world, we feel drunk, full of a feeling of lightness and vagueness, without any new tools for reading new realities. This is an endless cycle: doors are opening in ever-smaller spaces and our identities do not stop multiplying.