Alles over kunst

Expo  HART Nr. 195 special

Oscar Tuazon at dépendance

Lauren Wetmore

Praktische info

Oscar Tuazon, until 26 November 2019, dépendance, rue du Marché aux Porcs 4, Brussels. Open Wed- Fri 2 pm-6 pm, Sat noon-6 pm, www.dependance.be

While his show is on at dépendance, Oscar Tuazon (1975) is the subject of three museum presentations in the United States. This is an enormous endeavour as the artist creates all of his work on-site, in response to the conditions of the exhibition’s context and available materials. The built environment – iterations and orientations of physical and social construction – makes up both the material and subject of Tuazon’s practice. Water School, his current project at Michigan State University’s Broad Art Museum, provides a useful characterization of what Tuazon has been working towards since the early 2000s.

Oscar Tuazon, Water School, Installation view, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, 2019 photo © Eat Pomegranate Photography
Prompted by tenants of DIY architecture and sustainable living typical of 60s and 70s countercultures, a branch of Tuazon’s Water School has been constructed in the gallery to demonstrate and frame linkages between environmentalism, architecture and community. Tuazon has also established ‘Water Schools’ in California and Minnesota and describes them as having “grown out of thinking about what role art-making can play in building community and culture.” Fire Worship, Tuazon’s current commission at the Aspen Art Museum, provides a bridge between his more explicitly research and participation orientated strategies and the sort of work to be found in his gallery shows. Similar to his 2017 contribution to the Skulptur Projekte – a minimalist public fireplace installed in an industrial wasteland on the outskirts of Münster – Fire Worship in Aspen also takes the form of a modest monument, meant to function as a gathering place and provide relief from the elements. Tuazon’s interest in the architectural forms of public life, such as monuments or pavilions (see his contribution to ‘ILLUMInations’ at the 2011 Venice Biennial), often moves into gallery spaces by way of totemic assemblages of building material culled from the local environment. Tuazon’s most recent exhibition with dépendance, General Contractor in 2016, made ample use of his signature materials: lengths of milled wood, concrete and building elements. As the title suggests, the exhibition felt like a series of home renovations had been ordered by the gallery and then halted mid-construction. Floating walls of concrete bricks were left unfinished, window frames were found in various stages of installation, what may have been the contractor’s modest but well-made lunch table, remained in the gallery, and (to remind us where this all comes from) two logs of cherry wood and douglas fir were propped against a wall. Perhaps Tuazon’s new exhibition will pick up where General Contractor left off.