Materiais de construção [Construction materials] is organized around two situations: Entulho [Debris], a box of fragmented spare parts, mostly from objects produced in the past l works; and Showroom, display cases containing a wide variety of objects organized according to how they were cut and what kind of materials they were made out of.
These are extreme situations of an ordinary civil construction industry process: availability of organized materials that will be selected and purchased; and debris resulting from demolition that both ends a process and points to the building of a new space. Here, the artist presents simultaneously situations that would otherwise be apart in time: availability and disposal.
It makes the time of construction processes evident based on the perspective of materials. But various and different types of time are found here.
Entulho is at the gallery window. It consists of scrap, small parts that result from cut-out metal plates used as raw material in other works. The artist says goodbye to a collection of “leftovers” that were neatly stored until now, until this work l scrap was done. They had been stored for ten years. There, they had been separated and grouped just as materials that would be reused; here, they are all mixed together and placed in a disposal box.
A “useless” work, since it excludes for these materials the previous possibility of being used. But it is important to point out that there is logic to this disposed material— nothing prevents this mix to become available material again, albeit a hybrid one, as long as a different construction logic is followed. Here, irreversibility is a decision.
When mixing different materials, Lucia Koch creates an inverted construction site; a “demolition” of sorts. It is opposed to the main room in which materials are inside their display cases and in a state of pure potentiality: they may be used for different and unforeseen purposes.
Showroom presents an inventory of patterns built along several years by the artist. The organization of these sets follows a principle that is more logical than formal: façade display case, wood display case; acrylic display case; gradated display case, mirrors display case.
Organized in common display cases, which are found in
any hardware store, the patterns can be manipulated, placed further to be better observed, but (as it is usually done when they are in display cases) they are kept imprisoned as objects. Together, these patterns are the possible availability that
will not happen. The materials are not for sale, they cannot be picked, set aside, assorted or differentiated, and end up forming saturation.
As if by discovering the uniqueness of each element, raw materials used in the construction of her works l places, Lucia Koch shared her inventory of raw materials with others. And, after painstakingly building her unique and unrepeatable pieces, she brings matter back to being universal, devoid of space.
On the one hand, the exhibition presents the logical- mathematical rigor in terms of cataloguing; on the other, it has a multiform and noticeable variety of mixed elements.
Showroom and Entulho are two extremes of the construction process and dismantle the most consistent characteristics of the artist’s production: her indissociable association with the architectural landscape, which is transformed when she gets in touch with it.
Lucia Koch is known as an artist who works with space. Her works create unique places through a close and precise dialogue established with the site where it will be implemented.
When conceiving her works, she uses materials to edit the light, the wind, the time passing by—which is made evident through the movement of the sun and the light temperature from room to room… intangible aspects rigorously set through the drawing of a construction carefully outlined through materials produced specially for the piece. From this place she will always remember a competence that is fundamental for all architects: when one is shaping matter, one is actually shaping its opposite, the void. And, therefore, it is the void that confers its meaning.
And this is done through a materiality that comes from her own repertoire, which, at the same time, generates existing materials by transforming, distorting, and reinventing them just like devices that come from the cobogós, for instance, or in photographs that reveal depicted and manipulated existing images. Through manipulation, she often seeks a mistake,
a broken pattern that will make a situation unique; that will remove it from a situation of abstract generality and turn it
into a situation that makes something that belonged to a general category unique. A small flaw, which is unique in each case. The mistake did not take place by chance, it resulted from a plan.
And what seemed to be a distraction was actually strictly elaborated.
In Calvino’s words: the poet of the vague can only be the poet of precision.
In these three rooms, the artist presents a ‘leftover’ of herself, a look at one’s own body inside that which that body had considered its own. A vertiginous laugh or a rigorous revelation process? When the artifice is dismantled, it actually emerges as pure artifice.
As a remainder of memory—placed on the edge of the exhibition space—some videos show places where the works for which (with which) that matter was shaped took place. It is a sort of a fold of what is exhibited; a borderline between what is being presented here and what took place at another time and place for these materials, in the construction of each unique piece.
As a tool box, Materiais de construção “contains” a
collection of materials and procedures used by the artist. But, paradoxically, by containing, it expands and points to everything that, in the work of the artist, goes beyond and detours from the immediate use of these tools.
This exhibition is a re-velation: it presents Lucia Koch again, in all her transparency, in all her mystery.
Published on the catalog of the exhibition Materiais de Construção, 2012