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Temporary Structures 6

stage
For a Theatre on Mars

From

Artist:
Than Hussein Clark in collaboration with CPWH

Curator:
Michal Novotný

 

As its name suggests the Temporary structure called stage is first and foremost a stage, an architectural solution for all types of live performance. American artist Than Hussein Clark approached it as an open platform the content of which is a shared effort between the viewers and the performers.

“Given the problematic, but, at least in recent years, undisputedly intense relationship between contemporary art and theatre we invited Than Hussein Clark (b. 1981, USA). His work attempts to re-evaluate the seemingly false nature of theatrical art as opposed to the proclaimed universality and truthfulness of traditional modern art, blending in the subjects of citizenship, belonging, decadence and gay culture.

The stage project – on which he collaborated with design practice CPWH – has been informed by the design for a total theatre by Walter Gropius from 1926, by the circular space in front of the Ostrava main railway station and, as far as its final appearance is concerned, possibly by a skatepark. The original design by Gropius, drawn up during the architect's engagement at the Bauhaus art school, was to have combined three types of stage within a mechanically variable space: a circular arena, a semi-circular ancient proscenium and a classic depth perspective theatre. Than Hussein Clark has adopted this model to some extent but simultaneously transformed it into an abstract sculptural installation and flattened it into a human dimension. The stage is a kind of an open plate bringing to mind art deco ceramic dishes and the spaceship Enterprise from Star Trek.

The drapery around the walls partly isolates the inside but at the same time its translucent sections visualise and highlight it from the outside. In this way the action inside the room, whether on stage or in the auditorium, is dramatised and voyeurised. In their repeating precisely related dimensions the dynamic shapes of the dish are both aesthetic and functional, they are an abstract sculpture and a technologically sophisticated stage. The stage's circular forms make the viewers simultaneously into the observed and the stage continually unites physical activity and view, inviting us not just to contemplate but also to enter, use and experience.”

Michal Novotný

Than Hussein Clark (b. 1981 New Hampshire, USA) after his studies of acting he completed art history courses in Edinburgh and London, visual art in London and currently is about to finish studies at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg. He is the founding member of Villa Design Group and the Montez Press publishing house. He creates complex interior installations in which he examines themes such as authenticity, queer culture and theatricality. In the recent years he has exhibited at Art in General in New York, CAC Brétigny in Paris, Galerie Crèvecoeur in Marseille, CAC in Brest and GAK in Bremen. He is represented by Matthew Gallery in Berlín and New York, VI, VII in Oslo, Crèvecoeur in Paris and Marseille and Galerie Karin Guenther in Hamburg. He lives and works in London and Hamburg.

CPWH is a design practice based between Munich and London formed in 2018 by Caroline Perret and Winston Hampel. Established at the intersection of architecture and design, the studio operates across disciplines, scales and contexts.