Drawn from the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection in Istanbul, Turkey, two complementary selections of works rooted in performative action will be on view at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) through July 2017. On view April 22 – July 30, is Wavefunction, Subsculpture 9 (2007), a kinetic sculpture and interactive installation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer playing on the work of mid-20th-century American designers Charles and Ray Eames. It accompanies the exhibition Moving Image: Performance, on view through July 24, 2017, comprising a compilation of four videos by artists Elena Kovylina, Kalliopi Lemos, Roman Signer, and Universal Everything that investigates the relationship between the video camera and the action it records. The exhibition reveals how these artists use dynamic technologies – including digitized images and video – to explore the genre.
Both presentations were organized by Kathleen Forde, Borusan Contemporary’s Artistic Director at Large and UMMA’s Adjunct Curator of Media Arts, as part of a suite of exhibitions representing traditional categories – landscape, performance and portraiture – that find new resonances when explored through the strategies of dynamic technology.
Wavefunction, Subsculpture 9
consists of 42 molded plastic chairs (designed by the Eameses in 1948) arranged in a grid and attached to electromechanical pistons set into metal bases. When visitors approach the chairs, a surveillance system detects their presence and the closest chairs lift gently into the air on the pistons. Adjacent chairs follow, rising up and down, creating a wave-like motion across the grid of chairs. The software controlling the pistons is based on fluid dynamics, so as more visitors approach the grid, the chairs – whose iconic curving contours were also generated mathematically – mimic the complex interaction of multiple waves in water.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer was born in Mexico City in 1967 and earned a B.S. degree in physical chemistry from Concordia University in Montreal in 1989. His large-scale interactive installations have been commissioned for such events as the pre-opening exhibition of the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi in 2015; the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010; the 2008 memorial for the Tlatelolco Student Massacre in Mexico City; and the U.N. World Summit of Cities in Lyon, France, in 2003. Lozano-Hemmer’s work was recently the subject of solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. Lozano-Hemmer was the first artist to officially represent Mexico at the Venice Biennale with a solo exhibition in 2007.