Reminiscent, simultaneously, of an archaic tribal hut, a homeless person’s precarious shelter and a dovecote, its position, perched up high, seemed an invitation to loftier thoughts. In what is, ultimately, the violent and competitive context of any contemporary art fair, the cabin placed its hypothetical Lilliputian inhabitants out of the reach of all predators. Evocative of childhood games, the cabin appears as a metaphor for an oblivious refuge that allows us to escape the world’s bustle and rediscover a certain inner peace. For his first exhibition at Galerie Kamel Mennour, Tadashi Kawamata has chosen to fill the space with eight wooden huts. Four of them will occupy the gallery’s two main rooms, in a dialogue with an equal number dispersed in the main courtyard. Conceived as corbelled structures in the manner of hives or a swallow’s nests, they will have the appearance of so many grafts or cobbled together architectural prostheses; like cottages, which together form the village of a mysterious and invisible arboreal community. – ArtNews

Tree huts in particular are an emerging focus of Kawamata’s work; a crystallization of Kawamata’s interest in the architecture of shelter and of the insertion of private objects into public spaces as a method of renegotiating the meaning of both.  — Arch Daily

Parallel to his building deconstructions, he developed projects that made reference to the makeshift housing of homeless people. He employed used materials such as wood and cardboard, to produce “Favela in Ottawa” (1991), “People’s Garden” (1992) at the documenta 9 in Kassel and “Sanatorium” (1994) in Tokyo, and relocated to the city outskirts. His examination of temporary forms of shelter is the result of his observations of everyday urban lifestyles and his interest in urban planning processes. — Culture Base

Urban planning issues are the basis of his work. Building or demolition sites, intermediate areas that survive in the urban space are taken over by the artist who uses the materials already on the site for his constructions, by “recycling” them (chairs, boats, scaffolding). Thus, in Kassel, it was a ruined church, destroyed by the Second World War and neglected when the city was rebuilt, which he gave back to the citizens at the time of Documenta VIII in 1987. Time, as an indicator of the greatness or decline of a building or a site, is a key element in his work. — Claudine Colin

[Toronto Project 1989 | image source]

3 thoughts on “Kawamata II

  1. he could make a really cool sculpture with all of the red tape. I mean, if the red tape were literally, you know, red tape.

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