30 November, 2011 – 4 February, 2012
Opening 29 November, 2011 – 6.30 PM
On Tuesday, 29 November Peep-Hole is presenting Third Time, the first solo exhibition by the Brazilian artist Renata Lucas at an Italian institution.
In her works Lucas questions the space we inhabit, our perception of it and the relationships that are established within it, as she is aware that there are no objective answers to be found but merely possibilities to test. Her projects consist of interventions – invasive in some cases and subtle in others – in the architecture and spaces with which the artist interacts, and they are always the outcome of a long process of experimentation, ongoing mediation and failures. Each work is an attempt to suspend the rules, to measure the “limits” of possibilities, using those very limits as contents to be developed again and again in new directions.
Invited to engage with Peep-Hole’s exhibition space, Lucas has made a project that is the result of her direct experience with the place and in-depth analysis of its history, its function as an art centre and the relationship among the people who inhabit it and the work they do there.
As the artist, herself states:
This work originated a long time ago when I discovered that the statue of Christ the Redeemer, set on top of Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, was illuminated from Italy at the time it was inaugurated, the 80th anniversary of which falls this year (12 October 1931). Although there is no sure information about this, it is thought that Guglielmo Marconi used radio waves to activate the lights on the statue of Christ from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean: some say from Rome, others from Naples and yet others from Coltano (Pisa). That was a moment of great hope vested in technology, in the idea of finally being able to overcome distances to create a single and extremely simple gesture of turning on the lights, a broader public event shifted in time and space. It doesn’t matter if the event really happened or not. What fascinated me was the idea that it did not take place exactly in the time of the place of origin nor that of the destination, but remained suspended at some point in space and time, a sort of ‘third time’ between the two countries.
So I started with the equation of superimposing the two different architectures only through the electricity pulses, making both architectural bodies take place at the same space, against physical logic, and operate together, in a third position in space and time. The result was somehow to return that act of many years ago to the sender, sending light back to Milan, this time from a prosaic situation, with the single gesture of switching on and off the domestic lights, from my house in Rio de Janeiro.
Third Time consists in the reproduction of the electric plan of Lucas’ house on Peep-Hole’s space, repositioning the lights of this space in the same position in which they are placed at the artist’s house, so that those – used in the everyday life – punctuate the exhibition space, transposing to Peep-Hole a sort of choreography based on the movement of invisible actors.
Through sophisticated domotics – the interdisciplinary science studying technologies that can improve the quality of life at home and permit the integrated and computerized management of electrical and technological equipment – the two spaces will be directly connected, and whenever a light is turned on or off in the Rio de Janeiro flat, the corresponding one in Milan will do the same, creating a spatio-temporal link in which the artist’s physical absence is transformed into a “presence” that alters the exhibition space.
Deconstructing all emphasis on spirituality tied to the symbolism of light, Third Time concentrates on the domestic space and the timing that punctuates everyday life, weaving within the exhibition area a narrative of the quotidian as it unfolds. The artist’s decision to use existing neon lights underscores the displacement of their original function and amplifies the perception of her presence in this space.
No other lights will work for the duration of the exhibition and each activity performed within the space will be influenced by the artist’s movements in her own home, at a distance that is not only physical but also temporal (at this time of year there is a three-hour time difference).
The installation is completed by an old radio placed on a bookshelf in the office. The radio has the particularity of capturing the Italian radio stations on the frequency modulation (FM) and a single Brasilian broadcaster in the short wave (SW) just at certain hours. Almost like a soundtrack that punctuates the time of the day, radio is in fact historically a “time counter” and even today many radio stations announce the passing of each hour. Also in this element, the simple act of pushing a button produces a suspension and a shift both in ideal and real space and time.
Third Time marks a crucial turning point in the course undertaken so far by Peep-Hole, which was established with the intent of focusing all its activities on the artists and their works. Lucas has taken this principle to extremes with a project in which the space, the way it functions and its daily activities are totally in the hands of the artist.
Renata Lucas was born in 1971 at Ribeirao Preto, Brazil. She lives and works in Rio de Janeiro.
Her most recent solo exhibitions include: Ernst Schering Foundation Art Award, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2010), Resident, Gasworks, London (2007), Falha, REDCAT, Los Angeles (2007). Renata Lucas has also participated in numerous group exhibitions such as: The Spiral and the Square. Exercises on translatability, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2011), Short Time, Half House, Barcelona (2009), Time as Matter, MACBA, Barcelona (2009), The World as a Stage, ICA Boston (2008) and Tate Modern, London (2007). She also participated at 12th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul (2011), 53rd Venice Biennale, Venice (2009), Yokohama Triennial, Yokohama (2008), 16th Sydney Biennial, Sydney (2008), 27th Sao Paulo Biennial (2006). In 2009 she won the Dena Foundation Art Award, Paris and she was selected for the IASPIS International Artists Studio Program, Stockholm. In 2010 she took part to The Magnificent Seven, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco.
Renata Lucas’ project has been set up with the technical collaboration of CENTRODOMOTICA SRL, confirming that technology and art can truly elevate each other.
Peep-Hole would also like to thank Carlo Pria for his kind collaboration.