“The fifth floor” is a groundbreaking exhibition which creates an innovative dialogue with museum practice, specially developed by Laura Lima for the Bonnefanten Museum . The museum is ‘brought to life’ by the presence of human participants in the artwork. The exhibition includes a wide range of art pieces. The museum is presented as a location for the production of new works and ideas by means of a tailorshop, where two tailors create ‘custom suits’ for wooden frames. The works created in this way are installed as portraits in the neighbouring rooms.
The seats of five wheelchairs have been replaced by five modernist design classics. Placed in a museum setting and used by members of the public that might need them during the exhibition, this apparently simple intervention has given the wheelchairs an uncanny character. Sometimes the results are eerily “natural”, as is the case with Le Corbusier’s lc1 armchair, and sometimes, with the enormous Willow Chair by C.R. Mackintosh, they are utterly contrived and become a sort of rolling monument. In between, Saarinen and Eames chairs look like strange practical contraptions that escaped their former place in a high level conference room. Of course, the series would not be complete without the red and blue Rietveld chair from 1918. Rietveld’s saying “To sit is a verb” can certainly be applied to this mobile variation. The extraordinary thing is that these ‘pimped’ wheelchairs also ironically call into question the ‘health’ of the modernist body of ideas.
In the large toilet room of the Bonnefantenmuseum, on the same floor as the exhibition, the mirror in the wc is held by a pair of hands, whose arms seem to disappear into the wall. The public can use the wc as normal and enter into an unusual confrontation with a moving mirror image. The intimacy we normally experience when looking at ourselves in the mirror is unexpectedly disturbed by the presence of the invisible ‘other’, who is literally holding a mirror up to us.
Two tailors, with all their tools, machines and paraphernalia, are at work making clothes in a big museum hall. The work on the garments is precise, and is carried out following a design. The tailors are making bespoke suits for frames. The works thus fabricated are installed as portraits in the adjacent galleries. This piece is one of a group of works in which Laura Lima tries to get under the skin of the world we see around us. This operation on the structure of panting can bring about questions concerning structure and decoration, gender roles and other political issues that have haunted painting for a long time.
“The fifth floor”, solo exhibition by Laura Lima
On view through 11th January 2015
Visiting: Tues-Sun 11am-5pm;
Avenue Ceramique 250
NL-6221 KX Maastricht
T:+31 (0)43 3290190