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Walking Tours conducted by Xiaowei Wang:
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Los Angeles-based artist Liz Glynn uses objects and actions to explore the ambition of empire and the pleasure of ruin. Her practice seeks to embody dynamic cycles of growth, possibility, and decay by evidencing process, encouraging participation, and inciting future action. Glynn will be exhibiting two video works: The 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project (2008), in which a replica of Rome is built and destroyed in a day, and No Resistance is Futile (2009). As the Josep Luis Sert Practitioner in the Arts at Harvard for 2010-11, she will also be creating a site-specific work using the detritus from the Fogg Museum renovation to construct full-scale replicas of Le Corbusier’s iconic furniture. Current VES students will participate in this artist residency with Glynn, assisting in the fabrication of the objects, while engaging in a series of experimental sculptural processes and building their own projects using unconventional materials.
Meredith James engages architectural space to invert both perception and narrative in her work. She will exhibit sculpture, Applause (2010) and Jail House (2008), and the video installation Day Shift (2009). James created Jail House as a formal problem: a building with no interior. An image of the jailhouse exterior is printed on all four sides of every block used to construct it. When blocks are removed or reorganized, the architecture changes, but there is still no access to the interior, creating what James describes as "a perfect prison." In Day Shift, James constructs a set where she personally acts out a surreal narrative that is echoed in the video within the installation. James describes her process: “I set out to make a video in which every transition was seamless. The camera would never ‘cut’ from one image to another, instead each scene would unfold from the previous scene. I let this formal decision dictate the content of the video . . . I wanted the architecture I filmed to perform for the camera like actors that say their lines and leave the stage.”
Xiaowei Wang uses the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts to investigate Le Corbusier’s positions toward situating buildings (or "machines," as the architect referred to them) within culturally produced and natural landscapes. For this exhibition, she creates an intervention outside the entrance to Carpenter Center in response to the architect’s design. The Carpenter Center is the only Le Corbusier building in North America, considered by many critics and historians to be Le Corbusier’s “letter” to the United States. Le Corbusier also expressed that the Carpenter Center was an aggregation of the architectural techniques and elements that he had employed throughout his life’s work. Therefore, any intervention in the space must deal with a vast number of issues that have been and continue to be dissected in Corbusian scholarship. Wang’s research explores the architect’s approaches to using water as a structural and tectonic element, as well as his elevated buildings, which require large movements of earth. She uses recycled and natural materials to create objects that echo the Carpenter Center’s pilotis, a recurring strategy used by Le Corbusier to elevate the building and allow for nature to exist within this space. Against the backdrop of Le Corbusier’s building and philosophies, Wang subtly addresses the crisis of architecture in general, as it struggles to respond to the rapid growth of cities and the need for sustainable growth in increasingly industrialized contexts.
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