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A Fort Lauderdale Exhibition Explores Space, Vision, and Sound

By Janet Batet

Site-specific intervention is one of the most extended practices in Contemporary Art. Motivated by the synergy arising from the interaction between art and space, this practice signifies a challenge for creators that take the specific location into account while creating the artwork. The result is a much more psychological dialogue and vivid experience between visitors, art practice, and specific places.

Based on this dialogic creative strategy, Freddy Jouwayed, the MOAFL’s Chief Exhibition Designer, invited eleven South Florida artists to create installations within the confines of specified areas of the second floor galleries. Most of the artworks included in “Sight Specific” were created on the spot, but even those adapted from previous installations incorporate the spirit of the surrounding space into the oeuvre. The resulting installations are an inspirational dialogue between visitors, museum, and artworks.

Gavin Perry, Cluster F***. Courtesy of Fredric Snitzer Gallery

As its title indicates, “Sight Specific” explores an enlarged sense of perception focusing on different stimuli, including sounds, lights, uncommon exhibiting spaces, and views.

In this sense, the six-channel sound specific installation Stairway, created by Gustavo Matamoros stands out in the exhibition. The piece explores the acoustic of the staircase, making the vibration from it a powerful communication resource. The minimalistic installation deals with the aura associated with the museum as quasi-sacred space. The notion of ascension, emphasized by the verticality of the chosen space and its functionality in conjunction with the resonance, generates a sort of mystical experience.

Interested in dealing with the intersection between reality and representation, the video installation presented by Juan Maristany compels our senses. The psychedelic composition that suggests a multilayered reality echoes onto a multifaceted wall structure chosen by the artist.

Cluster F***, by Gavin Perry, takes advantage of the high ceiling of the gallery. His translucent hanging bulbs bathed in light generate capricious patterns where geometry, illusion, nature, and randomness propitiate a ludic experience nonexempt of a certain cosmic connotation.

Gustavo Matamoros, Stairway. Courtesy of the artist

Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova’s installation remains an elongation of his striking incursion into the daily life as impossibility. The apparently inoffensive structures become oppressive, obstacles, psychological barriers. The fragmented architectural remnants integrating the installation give a sort of hope to the viewer, encouraged by the promising possibility of change of the rigid structure. The archetypal white cube becomes open space, mutant entity, possibility.

Site of Temporarily Invested Interest, by Kyle Trowbridge, makes use of language as a trigger. Using the affirmative statement as a deconstructive tool, the solemn white inscription extruded from the wall claims our attention, imposing an effect of ritournelle in our minds while we try to decode the enigmatic message.

The other local artists included in the show are Clifton Childree, Wendy Wischer, Roberto Behar, Rosario Marquard, Bhakti Baxter, and Jay Hines.

“Sight Specific: Explorations in Space, Visions, and Sound” is on view through September 4, 2011 at the Museum of Art of Fort Lauderdale. One E. Las Olas Boulevard at Andrews Avenue. Fort Lauderdale. Phone: 954 525 5500 / www.moaflnsu.org

Janet Batet is an independent curator, art critic, and essayist based in Miami, FL.