Monday, 5 May 2014

Tooth House

Staged at the Henry Moore Institute Galleries, Leeds (UK) from 20th March until 22nd June 2014, the Ian Kiaer 2005 - 2014 retrospective ‘Tooth House’, uses the basic organic, early regenerative powers of the tooth - apparently referenced by the speculative architect and designer Frederick Kiesler (1890-1965) in his concern with constructing free flowing architectural frameworks for genuine lived experience - as a binding concept for  'collaged' maquettes of implied modular architectural environments. 

A dependency on constructing from crappy studio leftovers - cheap, disposable packing polystyrene, plastic sheets, rectangles of mass-produced paper - ‘questions’ the actual worth of the historically acceptable materials of art practice; the end results further complicated by the addition of titles which reference ambitiously Utopian thinkers socio-architectural speculation as tools to fine tune his 3D-event sculptures.

Somehow this allows Kiaer to dispense with the sculptural as an illusion of absolute solidity; a stabilizing conceptual marker in an anarchically fluid universe: everything here is temporary and contingent. 

The effectiveness and affecting aspect of this show is the fact that the display of sculpture-constructions may be about the way we dream architecture, or the universal need to do so, but architectural textures have an appropriate scale, a rule which Kiaer’s constructions completely ignore and, in doing so, they respond to the textures of the real as experienced in life’s everyday routines. 

OK, these directive routines may actually construct any notion of selfhood but it’s always worth keeping an eye on them.

The best intentions of Utopian dreamers are often reduced to the playful jigsawing of leftovers into 3D sketches of other worlds which will never come. That said, maybe helping to maintain a freedom to be imaginatively playful with the quotidian’s crap is success enough in the current climate.