Yoel Pytowski - 'Façades'

Exhibition : Thursday 22 October → Sunday 22 November

Monday Closed
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 12:00 - 20:00
Thursday 12:00 - 20:00
Friday 12:00 - 20:00
Saturday 12:00 - 20:00
Sunday 12:00 - 20:00
Rue Royale, 236 - 1210 Saint-Josse-Ten-Noode map

In his in-situ installations, space and questions around space form the central narrative for Yoel Pytowski, as he invites in construction, destruction or past or future reconstructions. For the last 5 years, his practice has mainly focussed on large-scale architectural installations. He introduces new physical elements or creates voids in a given place, thus upsetting the understanding of the pre-existing space in which various elements – mostly made of concrete - then seem to buried in the ground or emerging from it. This creates an ambiguity in which it is often hard to identify the artist’s work. Where do we look, where are we, what was there here before and for how long? … The built structures and elements in the installation look, at first, like façades of brick, stone or concrete, a material that is unchanging and immutable. Then only does one notice that his work is that of a forger, the walls are light and flexible, made of wood or plaster and then covered in a thin layer of grey concrete. This colour recurs in Yoel Pytowski’s work. On the one hand, the colour grey contains within itself the full spectrum of colours for those who know how to look at it and allow it to take on its own porosity; because, as Walter Benjamin wrote, grey and porosity go together. On the other hand, grey consequently becomes a surface bristling with potential; the colour grey starts taking shape. The materials used mostly come from previous installations that the artist dismantled with a view to reusing them in a future installation. This approach stems, firstly, from the importance of reusing and recycling materials and secondly, from the idea that installations become almost organic and change shape from exhibition to exhibition. Once taken down, the installation does not disappear, according to Andrew Benjamin, dismantling it does not destroy it, but rather repositions it. These walls, these constructions we find in Pytowski’s installations, are like façades. They separate the inside from the outside, but confining them to an inside space calls that into question, as well as their purpose to serve as a boundary or outer edge. These façades are therefore not used in his installations to emphasise their roles as elements of opposition as they are usually used in architecture or urban planning. On the contrary, as his process of construction is based on the reuse of materials from previous installations and their future deconstruction in order to become new installations, they are the annunciation of a spatial and architectural re-design. These walls become a curtain through which to pass, a portal for mental projection. The architecture contained in his installations, as well as what they represent, becomes porous, in the words of Walter Benjamin. A certain entanglement then appears; it’s not amalgamating but more like a continuous interplay of complex relationships, which redefine the differences between space and time. As Andrew Benjamin says ”space becomes timed as time acquires spatiality”. Time and space intertwine, with space taking on a temporal quality while time concurrently acquires spatiality. The architectural intervention in Yoel Pytowski’s installations gives space an irresolute strangeness, as it renders the space where they are housed porous. A distance is thus created between the spectator and the site, and its identity, changing the way the surrounding space is viewed. Yoel Pytowski grew up in over 5 countries and does not feel attached to any of them, his relationship to places and identity is defined by his frequent moves, reference points are mobile and blurred, as are cultural and social contrasts. He spent his childhood and adolescence living in houses under construction, which helped him develop an interest in construction, deconstruction and space. He attempts to shift these paradigms by exploring fields such as architecture, writing and drawing.