Artists: Alice Cattaneo, Fred Sandback
The exhibition contrapositive juxtaposes two sculptural positions that both reveal a spatial relationship to the medium of drawing. In the works of the American artist Fred Sandback (1943-2003) and of the Italian artist Alice Cattaneo (born in 1976), the line is used as a fundamental spatial element. The arrangements of lines in Sandback's works evoke geometric figures that manifest themselves in the exhibition space as imagined sculptural planes and volumes. In Cattaneo's works, the line becomes a signature for potential spatial movement and dynamism.
While the line is a unifying agent between Sandback and Cattaneo, the exhibition does not search for formal analogies or references common to the works. The artists question the “medium” of the line in relation to space, each in their own specific manner. Fred Sandback's sculptures, responding to and reflecting the formal, spatial characteristics of their context, unfold from the precise constellation and placement of lines-colored, acrylic yarn – spanned within the exhibition space. The resulting outline creates a contemplative form that is present yet absent, an imaginary sculptural presence that is “read" by the viewer into the spatial matrix. Sandback creates a paradoxically palpable yet incorporeal form of sculpture, in and through which the viewer is free to move. Through possible shifts in perspective and vantage point, he challenges viewers to a constant scrutiny of their own spatial perception.
In addition to their spatial presence, Alice Cattaneo's sculptures bear an intrinsically temporal dimension, a transitory moment. They seem to explore the variability of lines and forms in space, often giving the impression of being temporal declinations of negotiated forms. Primarily composed of low-tech materials such as wood laths, cardboard, tape, and cable ties, they in no way disguise their apparently improvised construction. On the contrary, they reveal a transformative potential, an aleatoric aspect, as if the sculptural elements would try out and show off their spatial, performative potential. While Cattaneo uses the line sculpturally, she also gives spatial expression to time through fragmented silhouettes of potential movement.
contrapositive moves beyond the formal similarities of Sandback and Cattaneo, placing the ontological status of the line in their aesthetic practice at the forefront of its spatial inquiry. A significant disparity between the two artists' work may be found in their material language: to what extent the constructedness, the fabricated nature of each sculpture, becomes visible or remains hidden. With Sandback, the method of construction is less important than the tension of the lines in space that serve to evoke the geometric form, so that the status of the line approaches that of a pure idea, the idea of line per se. In contrast, Cattaneo's notion of line is less absolute or abstract, instead functioning more like a notation, a spatialized trace. The obvious aleatory nature of her formal arrangements points less to “the facts” or the actuality of the sculptural setting, than to the potential that rests outside of the given spatial and sculptural conditions. In this way, Cattaneo creates – and herein lies a significant commonality with Sandback – a space for potential sculptural manifestations beyond the visible, brought forth by the imagination of the viewer.
Text: David Komary
Translation: Alisa Anh Kotmair