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  • Ausstellung
    13.04.2019 - 16.06.2019

Particles for the Built World forms the basis of Omer Arbel’s artistic interrogation into the physical properties of concrete: a material that has long held uncompromising notions of solidity, permanence, and strength. The installation, partially performative and partially static, serves as an introspective exploration into the materiality of concrete whilst simultaneously mapping an insight into Arbel’s modes of working. Housed in Surrey Art Gallery, the objects and artefacts are remnants of Omer’s challenging of the capacity for concrete to retain elements of its native state; liquid.

The installation is formed of several elements which, together, realign the viewers’ perception of concrete. It also seeks to build a vision of Arbel's approach to experimenting with materials and his innovative approach to design and architecture.

The exhibition commences with the slow process of filling a full-scale fabric cast mould, built in a warehouse in Vancouver. Left to cure for 29 days, the column is available to view by appointment – a polarising display of the immense power of concrete in tandem with the delicate fabric form it’s been poured into. Following this, the formwork is stripped during another performative public exhibition – with the column sliced with diamond rope into thin disc shapes before installation in Surrey.

The next stage of the exhibition is situated in Surrey Art Gallery, divided across two of its gallery spaces. In Gallery 1, the centrepiece of the installation takes the form of the large concrete discs that were previously cut—vestiges of the larger concrete column. Here, viewers are able to observe the anatomy of the concrete entity, its body having been divided with incisions. Curated to engage with Omer’s work thematically, the walls of Gallery 1 are adorned with portraits of objects, which are a result of studies into materials such as glass and copper mesh— displaying a further component of Arbel's creative practice. Some of the pieces photographed will appear familiar, as they mirror techniques found in Arbel’s Bocci lighting designs.

Particles for the Built World concludes in Gallery 2, in which the discovery of the fabric forming process is discussed as a part of a real architecture project currently under construction in South Surrey. This space deliberates how Arbel's work—a mixture of design, art, and material experimentation, has the ability to transcend into the realms of architectural application. A video by Fahim Kassam also accompanies this section of the exhibit and explores the aesthetic ambiguity of construction sites. At certain stages throughout the process of construction, they almost resemble archaeological sites or ruins. This idea relates to Arbel’s concept for the new the new house in Surrey, in which he treats the concrete pillars as artefacts placed inside a modernist shell.

As is the case with much of the work created by Omer Arbel Office, Particles for the Built World questions ideas of duality, intersection, and process. Stark monolithic structures contrasted with elegant beauty; solidity colliding with fluidity. The nature of the exhibit demands attention to the process of creation— perhaps most notably marked by the dissection of the concrete column. The anatomy reveals unpredictability, experimentation, and a beauty in the processes of conception over the final outcome. By facilitating how two materials interact, Arbel relinquishes a measure of control. However, it is without the enacting of external forces that allow materials to show their true beauty. Particles for the Built World will be on display at Surrey Art Gallery from 13th April – 16th June 2019.

  • 13.04.2019 - 16.06.2019
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  • Omer Arbel
    Omer Arbel
    Surrey Art Gallery
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