Apichaya Wanthiang & Cristian Stefanescu
At a distance a lone building.
Behind it a strong mid day sun.
Walking, wading through the tall grass, one foot in front of the other.
Although closer and bigger, it remains impenetrable.
The facade opaque and flat.
Upon entering the space unfolds into multiple rooms.
A staircase, barely attached to sloping walls, winds and dwindles upwards in odd directions.
Above and below glimpses of hollow chambers.
Crouching through a small doorway as massive beams hover overhead.
Windows sit high. The sky pours in.
Physical space is a type of language and like language it creates meaning. Just as we use letters, words and sentences to form dialogue and stories, so too do we use individual materials and components such as walls, windows and stairs to construct rooms and buildings. As the day-to-day spaces we inhabit are gradually commodified, standardized and regulated, we move towards a more generalized way of experiencing, inhabiting and thinking about our physical environment.
The exhibition seeks out the spatial diversity that is largely hidden, inaccessible and removed from our daily experience, This search oftentimes leads to a focus on environments found in the peripheries, on the back sides or in leftover areas. Out of sight, out of use and out of mind. An extract from these environments is constructed within the Hordaland Kunstsenter at a 1:1 scale. A constellation of spaces are brought together, superimposed, via a circular inside-outside movement. Walls tilt, rooms multiply and openings reveal a new spatial narrative.
Artist Apichaya Wanthiang and architect Cristian Stefanescu have been collaborating since 2013 on various works - acts of constructing environments - immersive spaces which open up for a diverse range of sensory and spatial experiences that are often distant, dormant or hidden from our day-to-day lives. This approach hinges on the belief that the spatial situations we inhabit play a critical role in how we form our society and the built environment. Particular attention is paid to the landscapes we grow up/live with; the material and textural, atmospheric and weather conditions in which we exist, the narratives that we share and how we choose to (re)tell them. Through their collaboration they seek ways to generate understanding about conscious and unconscious habits of conditioning which are destructive for our ability to reflect or relate to each other and our physical environment.
Apichaya Wanthiang (b. 1987) is a Thai/Belgian artist based in Oslo. She has exhibited widely, with shows in Belgium, Russia and across Norway and currently teaches at the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art.
Cristian Stefanescu (b.1984) is a Romanian/Canadian architect based in Bergen. He runs his own award-winning art and architecture practice a-works and teaches at the Bergen School of Architecture.
31 buildings is a follow-up to Concrete is Stranger than Fiction, which was an in-process exhibition by Wanthiang and Stefanescu, shown at Hordaland kunstsenter 12th - 28th of May 2017.
Hordaland Art Centre based in Bergen, Norway was established 1976 as the first artist run art centre in Norway. Its activities are based around the exhibition programme with equal emphasis on seminars, presentations and dialogue. Since 1987 Hordaland Art Centre has hosted a Nordic residency programme, from 2008 also open to international artists, curators, writers and other art professionals.