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The very word 'structure' came into use in the 15th century when architecture and art strove for new order, and as the world grew modern, we adopted the double vision of modernity: perceiving both the parts and patterns and the whole. We left the Wunderkammer (wonder closet) of the old world, where beauty was in the very mysteriousness of the object and have never stopped the painstaking work of analyzing and taking the world apart into its constituent elements. Languages, materials, societies were all shown to posses structures that determine function and action. Homes and social life and books and dresses, the most basic daily stuff, are all structures.
The exhibition STRUCTURED offers four different ways of re-enchanting the concept of structure and exploring the wonder of order. When Anne Damgaard deconstructs dresses into graceful abstractions, she is not just inviting us to rediscover the beautiful weirdness of clothes — sculptures we wear on the body — but also transcending the very limitations of structure. Each work is composed of strictly geometrical forms, and yet attains an organic quality as light and shadow play with these forms. Just as language utilizes an always-limited inventory of sounds to produce infinite meaning and even reinvent language, the very strictness of structure here transforms itself into hitherto unseen wonders.
Richard Tuschman recreates another abstracted form of home into lifelike yet sligthly apparitional scenes. The format 'home' has been shrunk into the tiny form of a dollhouse – an imitation of home – and populated with scenes imitating well-known images of American art. Tuschman's works inhabit a misty sphere of collective memory. Baroque nature morte meets echoes of early photography meets default humans meets dollhouse home. Taking in the scenery, we may feel estranged by the very familiarity of these unreal collages.
'Book' is a format, too; yet another deeply familiar structure. The serene pages of books with their strictly ordered layout and endless repetition of letters and words and blank space are in themselves transformational zones, taking us into immaterial worlds of storytelling and fiction. When Cristina Velásquez reimagines book pages as patterns, new vistas open up on the page itself. The well-known pattern of words morphs into new patterns: one kind of rules and structures giving way to new kinds of rules and structures. The very order of it is the wonder!
Heidi Hadassah Laura is a writer and journalist living in Nyborg, Denmark. She is a staff writer for the Danish weekly paper Weekendavisen. Her recent book on the Danish artist and designer Bjørn Wiinblad documents his strong connections to Texas. Recently Ms Laura served as a resident artist at Texas’ 100W Corsicana.