Thursday, September 13, 2007

Territorial Space


I pace around the perimeter of Nathaniel Rackowe’s installation ‘Luminous Territories’ at the Bischoff/Weiss gallery, the light breaks down into darkness, a few moments pass and then the light flickers back into life this time in a different configuration than before. Now lit once more from inside the skeleton of the installation is revealed as a scaffold frame encased in gridded, transparent, plastic sheets. The light changes once more as the fluorescent tube lighting switches to another configuration, the lights are set along the internal frame of the structure at intervals determined by the construction, horizontal and vertical. Again the light switches to another configuration revealing shadows and contrasts from within which allows one to determine clearly the framed structure and the placing and overlapping of the plastic skin.

I continue my deliberate pacing around the large structure, almost filling the upper gallery a small path is created between the installation and the boundary of the gallery wall, the focus of my attention is forcibly drawn to the structure and once accustomed to the intermittent, changing patterns of shade and light the structure appears to glow with warmth whilst structurally appearing closed and uninviting. It is a harsh and overbearing presence and I am reminded of the multiple sites of development and change scattered around the city, those huge sites that take spaces of our city, clad them in temporary skins to hide the activities within and then redefine them. The change of our shared city geography that is removed, redefined and returned to us complete and left for us to assimilate back into the geography of our own personal map of the city without negotiation whether positive or negative.

Rackowe’s impressive construction brings this condition into the gallery with great skill and thought, there is a lightness of touch with such strong materials. The structure creates its own dialogue, it announces its presence, creates its own space and claims it for itself. An inanimate structure given life by an ever changing heartbeat of light. Just as those other sites around our city create a dialogue with us from the start to finish of their development and then through their unveiling and presence on our altered cityscape so Rackowe’s installation does so too. ‘Luminous Territories’ claims it’s space within the Bischoff/Weiss gallery, in this incarnation it will be temporary and the change within the structure will be the beat and hum of changing light, the gallery will claim this space back untouched but until its removal this luminous territory is unique, distinct and untouchable.

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