Alfredo Abeijon is interested in the possible and necessary relationships between humanity and the world - our relationships to others, daily life, community and the structure of belief. Among other things, his recent works are informed by the materialization of self-image and a close observation of people in relation to the world. La forme des jours(2007), exhibited at La Maison de la Culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, documented the rhythms of his daily life over a one-year period - considering everything from dishwashing to his studio practice - codified as colours distributed over an enormous, circular wooden structure. Another work, Galileo's Garden (2003), could be described as an investigation of our ultimate submission to the inexorable laws of physics. In both projects, the Argentinean-born artist positions himself as an observer whose constructions bears witness to a poetic view of our occupation of physical and social space.
With Mythe/Temple, a new installation for Galerie Clark, Alfredo Abeijon leads us on a three-stage journey, a philosophical stroll through the tripartite nature of humanity as body, soul and mind, as conceived of since Plato. Three model houses, in a triangular configuration, serve as stages on a brief pilgrimage which nevertheless opens onto a broad view of this conception of humanity. The miniature houses, meticulously detailed in wood, represent humanity. These miniature temples shelter smaller versions of themselves, measuring 70 litres, approximately the volume of the human body. The play of scale and allusion begin to make sense once the pilgrimage is underway and the body moves through the three houses, the last of which opens onto an interior space. The journey suggests a metaphoric progression from the body to the soul and then on to the mind. One occupies the installation through movement and immersion, making the experience a physical experiment in the interpretation of sculptural form.
Side Show, in the second part of the gallery, reads as a response to the first installation, if not an outright synthesis. Three small houses, suspended by string from a wooden structure, sway gently behind a Kraft-paper screen. From one side their shadows, cast onto the delicate surface stirred by a fan, create a puppet theatre similar to our physical experience of the first installation. The precarious mechanisms of this theatre, with its three miniature temples embodying the same symbolic functions as those in the first work, are in plain view from the other side.
With his characteristic simplicity and precision, Abeijon offers us a conception of humanity and the desire to build temples and cities according to our beliefs and ambitions. As the artist has written, the temple “is a structure which embodies the relationship between humanity and a specific world view.” Like all architecture, the temple is a form of writing, a transcription of thought. Interpretations of our vision of ourselves left their imprint on the ancient Greek and Roman temples, as well as on the Gothic abbeys, whose cloisters and ambulatories were designed according to the tripartite conception of humanity. Through the use of wood and the model house, key elements in his artistic practice, Alfredo Abeijon invites us on an evocative journey to the heart of architecture and modern philosophy, speaking directly to humanity and the interpretation of our relationships to the world we inhabit.
The artist wishes to thank le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and l'Atelier Clark for their help during the production.
- Alfredo Abeijon
OCTOBER 18 TO NOVEMBER 24, 2007