The Architectural Interventions of Sinta Werner
German artist Sinta Werner renders the purposeful functionality of architecture moot. Like predecessors Robert Smithson and Gordon Matta Clark, she uses buildings and landscapes as a material object to de-construct and, by doing so, re-constructs familiarity. She provides a post-modern reflection on contemporary environments providing a doubling and re-imagining of existing structures. Through her work we question the given and have a blast uncovering the line between the real and the imagined real.
Werner’s latest architectural intervention Along the Sight Lines at London’s Nettie Horn is a subtler re-envisioning of the white cube space than her 2008 Grey Areas in which three-dimensional structures were added inside the gallery to create a mirrored mirage. The devices used in Along the Sight Lines are at a bare minimum but still produce maximum affect; the illusion lies in her usage of perspective painting where shadowing techniques compose dual visions of the same place. No literal division of the space is at play, only a manipulation of what’s already there. Werner combines digital technology to map out the area (pillars, doorways, walls, and floor) with Renaissance painting’s obsession with perspective to create what is in essence a very theatrical experience. The surrounding walls act as the stage backdrops to our performative movements within the space as we attempt to line up the angles.
Her new photo-collages are also more streamlined with three black-and-white series (Milos I-V, Zwischen Lenggries und Schwarz I, II, IV, V, and Constructed Visibilities I-IV) that focus on the façades of mountainous terrain and skyscrapers. There is little distinction made between these landscapes and urban environments which reveals a bit about our contemporary relationship to both: our distance to nature is rectified through building while our proximity to architecture fuels desire for the landscape. Like her installations, Werner has a direct and personal involvement in the collages that collapses some of this distance between the viewer and the viewed. Werner has taken all of the photographs and her intricate cutting and application of additional elements enhance the visibility of the artist’s hand. While her installations multiply the existing three-dimensional space, her collages take the two-dimensional into the realm of 3-D. Here there is a literal and obvious division drawn between representation, the original, and the fictionalized place. The viewer is now on the outside looking in but our presence is integral in developing associations between what we see and the everyday.
Sinta Werner works within constructs, reacting to and using interior spaces to manipulate understanding of place. Her site-specific installations and accompanying photo-collages force us to define our location within the surrounding environment, highlighting our tenuous relationship to seeing and knowing. Werner’s ‘insitu’ installations exist in an in between state, hovering between visual illusion and physical reality. Confronted with this acknowledged fiction within an actual space, it’s up to the viewer to sort out where each begins and ends. This moment of limbo is where the fun starts as our eyes open up to the possibilities of rendering ourselves within space in a new way.
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Read: SPACES OF DISILLUSION – Sinta Werner talks to Paul Carey-Kent
Images (top to bottom)
All images Courtesy of the artist and NETTIE HORN
Along the Sight Lines, 2010
Zwischen Lenggries und Schwarz II, 2010
106 x 49 cm
Constructed Visibilities I, 2010
37 X 28.5 cm
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