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Fold Gallery, London, 28 April -
Review by Laurence Noga
Tectonic architecture examines a notion of collective futurity through the way it
approaches its conception of space, habitation and the poetics of construction. Both
the artists in this compelling exhibition at Fold Gallery, Asmund Havsteen-
We particularly feel the influential lens of the Russian Constructivists and the Tecton Group, an architectural group led by Berthold Lubetkin (who designed the gorilla house and the penguin pool at London Zoo). I am intrigued by the way both artists use an embodiment of those material concerns and a dynamic sense of assemblage that underpins their paintings’ compositions and production.
Installation shot (L) Asmund Havsteen-
Schmidt has a dynamic sense of assemblage in his sculpted reliefs which absorb the
light with an uneven intensity. They have the presence of Robert Mangold’s early
wall works such as Red Wall (1965), or the stark graphite lines subtly modulated
in Column II (2006). Schmidt uses the Constructivists’ approach, in that the form
of Untitled (Vanish) 02 is dictated by the materials, but we also sense the putting
together of the pre-
The Temptation to Exist (2017) has a sense of the phosphorescent light often seen
in Dan Flavin’s ground-
Florian Schmidt, Untitled (Concurrent) 03 2015 Acrylic gel, lacquer, vinyl, cardboard, canvas, wood 114 x 74 x 24 cm. Image courtesy Fold Gallery and the artist
Schmidt also has an eye for unsettling combinations, and you can’t help but begin
to read these two (closely-
Installation view: (L) Asmund Havsteen-
With Maximum View (2017) the depth of field brings about an eerie sense of isolation in the composition of this strange architectural vista. The character of the house and the scale of the work asks another question about its occupation. Have its occupants long since left the blinding monochrome whiteness of the building, and what have they left behind? With its frozen selection of colour and enhanced lighting with a suggestion of electricity, this work has an afterlife which questions both the architecture and the emotions and memories it elicits.
The stapling of the surfaces in Schmidt’s Untitled (Link) 03 and Untitled (Link)
04 allow a reading of the surface from above, and very close to the lacquered surface.
It activates a map of memories guiding us across its territory. The approach initially
has an intuitive quality; we sense that the process of creating each segment of the
initial structure has been carried out at high speed. As the layers of acrylic are
built up the journey is re-
The embodiment and history of architecture is fundamental to this exhibition. The differences in approach allow us to question the manipulation of made space and place, but it’s the physical impulse that resonates, drawing out memories through its uncanny presence.
Installation view (L) Florian Schmidt Untitled (Link) 04 2015 Acrylic, lacquer, vinyl, cardboard, wood 150 x 120 cm. Image courtesy Fold Gallery.