Architecture de survie

04/12/2008 - 14/12/2008

Related Artists :
, Aline Bouvy & John Gillis, Andrea Winkler, David Evrard, Francisco Camacho, Frédéric Plateus aka Recto, Ivan Argote, Jaro Straub, Jim Skuldt, Kurt Ryslavy, Matthew Burbidge, Messieurs Delmotte, Michael Van Den Abeele, Michalis Pichler, Michelle Naismith, NG, Pauline Bastard, Simona Denicolai & Ivo Provoost, The Centre Of Attention, Yona Friedman

Komplot continues the project Architectures Of Survival started in Zagreb and Berlin, on the occasion of Yona Friedman's visit to Los Angeles.

Interview de Yona Friedman

The work of Hungarian architect Yona Friedman (*1923, Budapest, lives in Paris) is the starting point for this exhibition with the title itself being a reflexive reference to Friedman's 1975 book 'Architecture Of Survival' (MIT Press, USA). The book looks at the precarious nature of modern society and suggests creative strategies for countering the problems thrown up by hyper-consumption and capitalist modes of spatial and social organisation. Friedman rose to prominence with his manifesto 'L'Architecture Mobile' ('Mobile Architecture', 1958) and plan for a utopian city 'La Ville Spatiale' ('The Spatial City', 1959) ; his ideas led him beyond architecture and to engagement with sociology, economics, mathematics, information science, planning, visual art and film-making.

Today, his writings have become influential as architectural concepts which take as their starting point the perspective of those existing in a state of generalised poverty within capitalist economic model. He proposes structures for the unpredictable, providing the means and ways for people to determine, re-appropriate and re-invent their own living environment beyond the normative functional ability of new social forms to shape their own living spaces.

Relative to Friedman's method of re-appropriating architecture as a creative tool -through the creation of "do it yourself" manuals, instructions and recipes- the exhibition will articulate the way in which the actual creative process integrates the notions of survival and mobility. Fundamentally, how the artworks 'survive' their original context. The artist's work will deal with 'traces' and 'remains' of performances and actions, this being an area of investigation privileged in the project, the participative and performative aspects of the works being crucial within this context. One of the common material characteristics of the works exhibited is 'lightness' and economy of means. Whether they are constructed from recuperated material, fabric, objects or paper or are audio-visual, they are designed to be easily transportable – allowing improvisational flexibility of creation and presentation.

"All artists are alike. They dream of doing something that's more social, more collaborative, and more real than art." - Dan Graham.

With Architectures Of Survival, there is the creation of a certain 'critical distance' apropos artistic social utopian trains of though and a desire to revive the exhibition model and its relationship with the spectator.

With the support of the Commissariat général aux relations internationales, the Ministère de la Culture de la Communauté française de Belgique, the Belgian and French Consulates in Los Angeles

survival NG flyer

NG, drawing, 2008

Photos of the performances in Los Angeles and Yona Friedman's studio

Launch evening organised with ART2102

25th November, 8pm, at Mandrake

Videos by Ivan Argote, Bad Beuys Entertainment, Fayçal Baghriche, Pauline Bastard, Matthew Burbidge, Jean-Philippe Convert, David Evrard, Michelle Naismith, NG, Kurt Ryslavy, Ivo Provoost & Simona Denicolai, Michael Van Den Abeele


NG (no birth-date, no country, lives everywhere) is looking for a new ways of living/moving/making art. Two years ago NG began a nomadic life project. Before Los Angeles, she was resident in Air Antwerp (Belgium), Villa Arson Nice (France), Villa du lavoir Paris (France), the bubble house of Antti Lovag Nice (France, Quelle Vienna (Austria), Bad foundation Rotterdam (Netherlands), Flux Factory NY (USA), La Generale Paris (France). NG performed Breal Hotel, a reading of a text re-written from her conversations about how to live, work and move from one residency to the next. The reading is accompanied by images from the places she has lived in.

Jaro Straub (*Germany 1973) made a performance with field-recordings from his stay in Mexico, on the way to Los Angeles. This piece represents a survival record of his travel with live mix of of sound recordings, which he comments as he goes along. He evokes one of his favorite artworks Hotel Palenque, a slide show with voice over by Robert Smithson, made in Chiapas Mexico.

Jim Skuldt introduced Yona Friedman with his performance/installation Rapid Mobile Architecture.

Exhibition at Outpost for Contemporary art, 4-20 December

archi LA delmotte1

Messieurs Delmotte performing at the opening.

Messieurs Delmotte (*B 1967) shows his new video The Mental Reason and performs in his most unfamous “infra-mince” style. The deadpan, Buster Keaton like mystery artist poses as a dandy. His actions are so blatantly topical, so banally urgent they can’t be postponed. They have to take place, here and now. Coarse and crude, his videos make a mockery of just about everything. They stand aloof from smooth perfection and are realised with the simplest of audio-visual means and a unity of time, place and action. Mimicking the world of animals and objects, Delmotte is a great pretender whose whimsical feats need no explanation--they're just absurdly cheerfully and dogged.

archi LA ccc1

Complete Communion Celebration
An eight-hour video installation by Jaro Straub & Matthew Burbidge
At Gallery 533, 13 December, 6pm-2am

Jaro Straub (*Germany 1973) & Matthew Burbidge (* GB 1970)  The video installation Complete Communion Celebration is based on an eight-hour performance during which the artists improvised  on voice and guitar ,
juxtaposing passages from Guy Debord’s autobiographical book ‘Panegyric’, for an absent public under a riverside bridge in Berlin. The performance is presented as two distinctly filmed parts, which are projected simultaneously: in one part the artists are performing in a seemingly interior space; in the other the sun is setting over a landscape, which rapidly becomes obscured in darkness.

survival berlin sdip closeup

Simona Denicolai (*Italy 1972) & Ivo Provoost (*Belgium 1974) : their contribution to the exhibition consists of an announcement first published in Berlin listings magazine 'Zitty', for the previous Architectures of Survival exhibition (April 2007), describing a mental image, repeated until this image attains more street credibility than its actualization. Plus the video To Be Here (Happy) (2006) in which the artists travelled with both a fake and real cactus from Brussels to the Californian desert.

archi LA skuldt denicolai

Right: Simona Denicolai & Ivo Provoost, To Be Here (Happy), video, 2006

Left: Jim Skuldt, Rapid Mobile Architecture, 2008, cardboard installation and fax exchange with Yona Friedman

Jim Skuldt (*US 1970), over the last several months, has been capturing feral cats from the alleyway surrounding his studio.  Those captured have been spayed and neutered and returned to their environment.  As strategies of entrapment and evasion have evolved in tandem, Skuldt and the feline population have become acquainted with certain subtleties of mobile architecture in relation to survival on the streets in the urban built environment, arriving at a level of grid-based obfuscation he refers to as Rapid Mobile Architecture (RMA) whereby rapidly shifting walls serve to simultaneously mimic spatial environments and problemitize control asserted amongst its inhabitants.

Yona Friedman (*Hungary/France 1923) will be in Los Angeles, in January 2009. Before his visit, we wish to introduce his work by distributing the manuals that he formulates like recipes for building and creating public and private environments, sculptures and shelters.

archi LA Jim1
archi LA A/J Jim

Right: Jim Skuldt, Rapid Mobile Architecture, 2008, cardboard installation and fax

Left: Aline Bouvy / John Gillis, Love Suckers, 2006, 50 drawings on paper

Aline Bouvy (*L 1974) / John Gillis (*B 1972)

Use 'street cred' reality from the suburbs of Liège to Berlin, London, Brussels… fashion systems, sexy music, graffitti and lifestyle magazines as the source material for their work to speak about seduction, misunderstandings, primitivist and futurist icons. Representing the hypnotic gaze on the other as well as the division of labour in the creation of the artwork, the duo thumb their nose at ‘straightness’ probing the limits of bad taste, formalism, luxury, deviance and pop culture.

archi LA A/J detail
archi LA A/J
archi LA general 1

Left, on the floor: Andrea Winkler, Untitled, 2008, fabric, coloring, garland, plastic cups

Andrea Winkler (Germany) creates works of intense sensuality and minimalist elegance. Her delicate reliefs and often frilling objects are made from everyday-materials like paper, foil, tape or glossy magazine pages. Located between an object trouvé and a site-specific installation the pieces are sparingly dispersed in the space attached to the walls, spread out on the floor, fixed to architectural protrusions and hanging from the ceiling. Carefree, playful and seemingly existing there only temporarily, things appear light and mobile like transit passengers. But the picture is well composed and catches the passer-by with powerful seducement.

archi LA Francisco Delmotte

Right: Video The Mental Reason By Messieurs Delmotte (2008)

Left: Francisco Camacho (*Columbia 1979, resident at Rijksacademie, Amsterdam) proposes this project : “One year ago, X was caught by the police trying to smuggle 2 kilos of heroin from the airport Al Dorado in Bogota to Texas. Description of the jail where X is now imprisoned. Using this description and after recording conversations with X's family, I will reconstruct the image of the space where X is now jailed. The tales will be linked only by the conception of the jail's space built up in the memory of X's family; many aspects will be practical but others will be more sensitive.”

archi LA francisco 1
archi LA NG SDIP

Left: Simona Denicolai & Ivo Provoost, insert in magazine, 2008

Right: NG, Statement, 2007, drawings on paper

archi LA NG David

Left: NG, Statement, 2007, drawings on paper

Right: David Evrard, untitled, 2008, prints on objects

David Evrard (Belgium) proposes new Rorcha test patterns made with loose change (Euro cents) pasted on found objects. The architectural object and its urban context are at the centre of his drawings, texts, photographs, songs and sculptures that often speak about the relation between Europe and America. Fascinated by the imagery of the West from cinema and music, he recreates situations that function like fragments of that mythology.

archi LA david 1
archi LA David 2
archi LA JP2

Left: Jean-Philippe Convert, The Wall, 2008, LP cover and flag

Jean-Philippe Convert (*France 1972) made a piece by associating the Flemish flag with the album cover 'Off The Wall' by Michael Jackson. Like in his video Iraki People, he puts together different sources to question poetically what seems to be accepted in the media.

Right: NG, Give Me A Break, 2000, sound dispositiv

NG presents the video Limits Of Paradise: Free Solo, which resembles a survival dream : The artist wandering in differing landscapes (snowy mountains, post-industrial, river side, wild nature), gathering, naming, eating herbs, bays, plants. The video is accompanied by her drawing and text Statement, a manifesto for a utopian way of life plus the sound piece Give Me A Break, a series of ‘detourned’ songs about the position of the artist in society.

archi LA NG projection 1
archi LA NG projection 2
archi LA Pichler projo
archi LA pichler book

Michalis Pichler (Germany) shows  works made mostly in New York. WAR Diary (2005) is an edition made up of collages, using front page headlines from the Daily News and merging them with images from the New York Times. In line with Dada tradition, the random mix of visual references and sensational lines from the two rival papers produces startling results. The book Hearts  gathers images of discarded commodities, which carried depictions of hearts, found in public space in Berlin, Greece and New York City. For the book New York garbage flag profile, Pichler collected discarded paper cups and other mass-produced materials emblazoned with the American Flag.

archi LA Pichler bureau
archi LA plateus Bouvy 1

Frédéric Platéus, Monster Skewb, 2008, polyurethane, resin and vinyl

Frédéric Platéus (*B 1976) makes graffiti ‘tags’ and sculptures inspired by spray paintings. The two dimensional ‘tags’ are transposed into 3D objects such as his light-boxes and Twisted Puzzles, relocating street culture to the living room, the sculptures look like thick tags, abstract labels for branding. When he works with Aline Bouvy / John Gillis, they tackle the relation between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, creating trash decors for the white cube. In a similar collaboration, he worked with Matthew Burbidge & Jaro Straub for the project Complete Communion Celebration in Komplot, Brussels.

archi LA plateus outside

Frédéric Platéus, outside wall

archi LA jaro

Jaro Straub  (*Germany 1973)  has picked up a packaging for a childrens miniature piano from the streets of Los Angeles outside an artist studio complex. He rebuilt the missing musical instrument which was originally made in China out of the cardboard remnants as a nonfunctional sculptural object. The keyboards of the piano are made of Crayola wallpaint samples, thus creating a color range which substitutes the black and white keyboards for a chromatic scale.

Crayola Red Wild Strawberry Razzmatazz Two-Wheeler Faces in the Clouds C Cerulean White C Red Orange C Violet Great Grape Brick Trick Neon Carrot Under Construction Unmellow Yellow Tree House Abstract Green Inch Worm Granny Smith Apple Tropical Rain Forest C Gray Crayola Black / Crayola Rojo Fresa Silvestre Razzmatazz Bicicleta Rostros En Las Nubes C Ceruleo Blanco C Naranjo Rojizo C Violeta Uva Deliciosa Ladrillo De Juguete Zanahoria Neon En Construccion Amarillo Brillante Cabana Construida En Un Arbol Verde Abstracto Pulgada Gusano Manzana Verde Bosque Denso Tropical C Gris Crayola Negro, 2008, cardboard, transparent tape, crayola samples

Survival LA Pauline 1

Pauline Bastard (France) works on the detournement of functional objects, transforming their use value in moments of contemplation. Her work Fresh associates a plastic bag and a ventilation fan in a very literal visual pun. Movement and playfulness are also characteristic of the fountains she creates out of domestic wrapping paper.

archi LA ivan boom

Ivan Argote (Columbia) presents a video which documents his efforts to give money to passengers on the metro and other videos of his street actions. Most of his work originates from everyday (ab)normalities, slightly modifying what is supposed to be accepted by all as either a belief or a reality. Using photographs and video to document his in-situ actions, he highlights the absurd or non-sensical aspects of things that are often unconscious to us.

archi LA andrea

Andrea Winkler, Untitled, 2008, fabric, coloring, garland, plastic cups

archi LA delmotte video1

Messieurs Delmotte, The Mental Reason, 2008, video

archi LA jason 1

Jason Wallace Triefenbach (*US 1978) : "I am inspired by human interaction, and our seemingly natural ability to misunderstand one another correctly.  The city as hive only works as a metaphor so far as we can ignore the great lack of compassionate coordination birthing tragi-comic transgressions of human dignity and the wasting of potential inherent in any system-run-amok. I look for the details of accidental architecture: the accumulating ambiance of angles, curbs, pipes, electrical boxes, signage, graffiti, litter, scuff marks, erosion, bike racks, trees, cracks in the sidewalk, construction barricades, surveillance equipment, flowerbeds gone to weed, etc. Beauty is the chance meeting of Donald Judd and Robert Rauschenberg in a McDonald’s parking lot. How then to abstract these urges? (…)". The combined use of music, costuming, sculptures and props, physical actions, and the presentation of written texts constructs a complex formal terrain upon which autobiography, fantasy and politics mingle, morph, and grow beyond this author’s original intentions.

archi LA Champion 1

The French collective Bad Beuys Entertainment presents the video Champion (2003), an animated gif file that is a series of logos of products, brands, companies and organisations called CHAMPION collected on the internet.

archi LA champion 2
archi LA centre of attention

The Centre of Attention (a duo based in London) propose their "Gemeinschaft und gesellschaft" piece, that links to Yona Friedmans architecture mobile where "inhabitants are enabled to flexibly shape their spatial and social worlds". In the previous 2 versions, this has started with an installation by them. But in Los Angeles, the work of the other artists will have provided that installation already. Their work being so"visitors can make changes to the exhibition by adding, moving, editing and recombining elements, etc."

The sentence above was written on a letter head from Outpost that has disappeared...

archi LA plateus outside 2