Opus Sectile at Ludlow 38
Opus Sectile at Goethe-Institut Ludlow 38 New York
2015MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 is pleased to present the first US solo exhibition by Zuzanna Czebatul. For Ludlow 38, the artist has developed a floor piece that deals with the exhibition space and its history. Opus Sectile originated in dialog with the permanently installed display Remodel, which was conceived by artist Martin Beck in 2011, is a reflection about movement through social and experienced spaces. Taking the relationship between the individual and space as a starting point, in this work Czebatul addresses the history of architecture and its brittle lines in the present. The title Opus Sectile (Engl. “cut work”) is borrowed from Latin and refers to an artistic technique that was practiced primarily in ancient Roman times to inlay floors with fine marble, mother-of-pearl, or cut glass. Unlike mosaics, the stones for an opus sectile are cut to generous shapes, which then are positioned piece by piece as the subject. The best known historical references include the finds in Villa Adriana, Herculaneum, and Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. The rooms of these imposing villas were not only decorated with fine sculptures, statues, and busts, but also with decorative mosaics and murals. In ancient times, sculpture and architecture formed a synergetic unit designed for a harmonious combined effect; the goal was to design space as a whole. Czebatul’s engagement with sculptural architecture transports this idea to the present. At Ludlow 38, she has transformed the floor into an artistic element, producing an extensive opus sectile and thus redefining movement through the exhibition space. The formal design of the floor is based on dynamic lines that create a horizontal pattern. The individual panels have a marbled quality created in a special manufacturing process by which Czebatul prepares a concrete-pigment mixture that slowly hardens in poured molds. These panels are fastened to each other on the floor and intercede with the Remodel display in their overall appearance. At the same time the floor appears to be part of a larger whole, a fragment of modern architecture that seemingly runs behind the walls of the exhibition space. Opus Sextile is based on ideas of site-specificity and opens up a conceptual space where the potential and the continuous transformation of urban architecture can be renegotiated.
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