Sunday, April 10, 2011

Amazing Space

In this universe filled with people and information on every single corner, today, in a neighborhood where you can find many designer clothes stores and commercial art galleries (that without doubt have very good works), something happened to me that is very uncommon for a Chilean: to come across a Damien Hirst exposition, with art by Keith Harring, Warhol or Lichtenstein, by Frank Stella and Chagall, works that I sure appreciated with enthusiasm in the different galleries in Soho. I was happy though always conscious of where I was and why the works I mentioned are in that circuit.
I will not particularly embrace a few galleries just because they have works from different artists that belong to this place, to this great Art industry.
In this gallery circuit, that is constantly oozing New York, I could visit two spaces that brought to me something that I felt didn’t exist in this city: spirituality; an instant of silence, a gift to the mind, to imagination and a small instant of reflection and meditation among chaos.
In 1979, and in two parallel spaces of the Dia Art Foundation, Walter de María mounted two exhibitions that cannot live the one without the other. In fact, they are one since 1977, when De María inserted, for the first time, underground and with a depth of one thousand meters, two inch bars of solid polished tin. Of this I could only see a photograph, a beautiful image that helps in understanding the spaces and the work that has been exhibited without alterations for 32 years.
The first space, The Earth Room, is a space on an apartment on the second floor of a building right in the middle of Soho, silent and austere, in which, once you get there, you encounter 22 inches of earth covering the totality of the apartment’s surface. It’s astonishing, strangely beautiful and solemn. One can only look through the entrance, separated by a glass that keeps you away from the work in a practical and subtle way, for you don’t need to be on it. It’s a space to observe inside one’s own self, amidst the silence and a humid earth surface which is as organic as the spectator. The work continues visiting the second space, The Broker Kilometer, a couple of blocks away, in which, align on the floor, are 500 golden and bright polished tin bars, installed in five parallel lines: inside an enormous space, where the fit perfectly like the most beautiful of puzzles. You also observe them from a distance, without touching, nor photographing: just one and the artwork, for the time that the visit lasts, in the strange inner journey trigged by just being there.

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