This month’s LA Art Blog is a spotlight on Kristin Posehn and Inverted dome.
The MAK Center for Art & Architecture exhibited the launch of Inverted dome. The event included a conversation between the artist Christine Posehn and conservative Aurora Tang.
The exhibition and event draw on frameworks of experience and related notions, as well as new texts by Chris Fite-Wassilak and Michael Ned Holte, an interview between artist Kristin Posehn and curator Aurora Tang . Along with this impressive merger is the full documentation of the process and associated research. Designed by Salome Schmuki and published by New Laconic, inverted dome was handmade and assembled by the artist in his limited edition studio.
- Where and when did you do this work?
The sculpture for inverted dome was fabricated in my studio in Los Angeles from late 2021 to early 2022. It was cut with a CNC router from large sheets of acrylic mirror and installed at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. The shape of the coin is an interpretation based, to scale, on the structure of the US Capitol Dome.
I first thought of doing a work with the Dôme du Capitole in 2009, the day after the Great Financial Crisis. Although I don’t usually realize an idea when it first appears – a good measure of an idea is whether it can persist. So it was in the works long before 2020, but as with just about everything back then, the schedules have changed. Time matures and refines.
- Can you describe what happens at work?
The Mackey Garage Top Gallery at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture has this special feature – an entire wall of the gallery is made up of sliding doors and completely opens to the outside. inverted dome hung from the ceiling in the otherwise empty gallery, and with the doors open it reflected both the visitors, the gallery itself, and the play of light and environment in the Los Angeles sky.
- What inspired you to do this?
The Capitol Dome fascinated me – its image is everywhere. You’ll see it used as a backdrop or key image in news broadcasts or articles published by just about every media outlet, every day, on every channel, but it’s also so common you may not notice it. -never be consciously hidden as a secret in plain sight. It is as if this architecture had come to represent an increasingly publicized abstraction of power as the days went by.
While it is becoming increasingly clear that we are witnessing the slow motion failure of institutions in real time, I also believe that the seeds of new forms are there to be built. Art can be this test bed for new mutations of consciousness. I wanted to somehow reimagine the classic dome structure as an open, transparent and reflective experience.
- How did you meet curator Aurora Tang?
Aurora and I first worked together on an exhibition of materials on Complaint which was displayed at the Land Use Interpretation Center in Wendover, NV. In addition to her work as an independent curator, she is also a Program Manager at CLUI, which is how we met. I am so grateful to him for his key role in bringing inverted dome to life, it was an incredible experience to work on it together.
- Has working with a particular medium changed your job/the direction of your work in general?
I like to create works where an idea, a material and a tool come together to solve an engineering challenge. For this part I had the general idea and different options in mind for how it could be made, but it finally came to fruition when I found a new tool, a handheld CNC. It’s an augmented reality tool, which means it kind of mixes computer and human input to make the cut. It is therefore possible to cut a very precise vector file – fresh from your computer – in a remarkably flexible way.
My larger works have probed the limits of what is possible with readily available technology, whether it be large format printers, a 35mm camera sensor, a cutter vinyl or this CNC. I got interested in the readily available aspect because it’s too easy for a technology to eclipse the artwork itself – the technology is there to get to work and make something possible, not just to be a new thing. An idea sometimes percolates for quite a while until the right technology emerges. This decade is exciting, many 3D tools are now available to us, and they are much more robust, stable and affordable than ever.
- How does this exhibition fit into the evolution of your work?
This exhibition is fully in line with the series of larger-scale architectural sculptures that form the body of my work, but it is also a new step forward. There has often been a play with environment and light in my past works, this piece pushes that into a more experiential realm. And with each of these architectural sculptures, I kind of dare to start with a reference and then move forward and further develop my own vision.
- where could we see inverted dome Next?
The exhibition had multiple events, many research threads, and in addition, I also released a series of all-digital works in conjunction with the physical exhibition. In order to bring together these different elements, I produced a limited edition artist’s book.
The publication for inverted dome features essays by art critics Michael Ned Holte and Chris Fite-Wassilak, an interview with myself and Aurora, research, and color documentation of the works. I love artist books and really believe in them as a dynamic format to bring an exhibition to life beyond the flow of a performance, while becoming a kind of work of art in its own right.
- What’s the next step for you?
I’m working on a solo exhibition that will build on ideas that started with this piece – I’m particularly interested in lace, open network patterns, and the interplay between virtual and physical spaces. And in parallel, I develop new entirely digital works, as well as new sculptures in my studio. This show has opened up a bunch of new threads, and it’s a pleasure to discover their potential.
Christine Posehn is an artist based in Los Angeles. She obtained a doctorate. in Sculpture from the Winchester School of Art, Winchester, UK, and completed a two-year research and production residency at Van Eyck, Maastricht, NL. She has taught at Oxford University, Woodbury University, Winchester School of Art and Duke University. Posehn was awarded the Hermine Van Bers Art Prize in 2009 and has received grants and commissions from, among others, the Bonnefanten Museum, Museum De Paviljoens, Brooklyn Historical Society, and the Netwerk Center for Contemporary Art. The Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art maintains a collection of materials from Posehn’s architectural installations and dedicated a solo exhibition to this work in 2017. Recent exhibitions include Kristin Posehn: Inverted Dome at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture (2020); and Substrate at EPOCH/Los Angeles Museum of Art (2021).
Aurora Tang is a curator and researcher based in Los Angeles. Since 2009, she has been a program manager at the Center for Land Use Interpretation. From 2011 to 2015, she served as General Manager of High Desert Test Sites. She is the recipient of a Visual Arts Curatorial Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation. Curatorial projects selected include exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, the Todd Madigan Gallery at CSU Bakersfield, the MAK Center for Art & Architecture, the City of West Hollywood, Materials and Applications, and the Barrick Museum of University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
Read the article on Facteau & Pumhösl at the MAK Center for Art & Architecture.