“Still Life” is the third collaboration between architect Edwin Chan and artist Piero Golia; following the success of the CHALET in Hollywood and at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. The exhibition was originally scheduled to open at Gagosian Gallery’s Britannia Street space in London on March 26, 2020; but was postponed due to the global pandemic.
The collaboration continues Edwin Chan and Piero Golia’s on-going exploration in creating an immersive and holistic space that unifies art and architecture - a Gesamtkunstwerk. Using 1’ - 1/2 “ scale physical model as the design tool, the duo explored different strategies for the installation at Golia’s Hollywood studio in January 2020.
For this exhibition, Golia has choreographed a set of 4 pieces:
- An Ikebana in the form of a wooden log with mushroom outgrowth (left)
- A tulip in a vase that explodes periodically (center left)
- A ball spiraling around a roulette wheel that spins continuously (center right)
- A 35mm film projection of extreme weather condition (right)
In respond to the unique existing conditions of Gagosian Gallery’s Britannia space, 2 new partition walls in an acute configuration are constructed to define a sequence of 4 distinct spaces of different geometries and colors. The 4 pieces are strategically placed in these 4 spaces to create a singular sculptural happening.
The unique form of the vase with a concave mid-section is designed to facilitate the build-up of high-pressure gas required to trigger the periodic explosion. Multiples of the vase are fabricated with breakaway glass by the prop-makers from the Cinecitta film studio in Rome, Italy.
Visitors entering the first space are greeted by an angled red wall standing on soft red carpet. The asymmetrical placement of the Ikebana on a pedestal of black marble anchors the piece in the dynamic space.
Articulated in an off-white color, the second space offers a contrast to the first space; and provides a neutral backdrop for the tulip in the blue vase.
The color blue of the vase is chosen to compliment the red of the tulip. The slender proportion of the pedestal conceals the tall gas tank inside that is connected to the bottom of the vase.
The acute angle of the triangular space contains the debris form the periodic explosion. Fragments of blue glass and remnants of the red tulip after each explosion creates its own painterly composition on the off-white carpet.
The transitions between the spaces are composed to conflate the distinct spatial characters and anticipate the next sculptural happening.
Marking the center of the third space is a roulette wheel placed on top of an over-scaled low pedestal of blue marble housing a rotating mechanism.
The perfect square footprint of the third space magnifies the rhythmic "clicking" sound from the continuous spinning of the roulette wheel.
At the corner of the third space, a thick red velvet curtain selected from the international designer textile brand Maharam invites visitors to enter the fourth space.
Painted in black to completely disappear, the fourth space is conceived to provide an immersive backdrop for the 35mm film projection of extreme weather condition. Presented in a repetitive loop, the unpredictable sound of the thunder and lightning creates a dramatic finale to the sculptural happening.
Although it is designed to be best experienced in person, the exhibition opened from June 15 to July 31, 2020 to limited public view by appointments only and to on-line viewing due to the continuation of the global pandemic . . .