True to the nature of this show, I'm going to give it to you straight. This exhibition from the Seattle-born, Paris-based artist Oscar Tuazon is made of several pieces of rough wooden beams fixed together in large structures. It's a fairly brutal gesture, and not an entirely friendly one. But perhaps I can persuade you not to run away, and that this is an artist worth regarding.
The exhibition begins, in the first gallery, with a cubic frame-like structure, made of these huge, course pale wooden beams. This first, initial structure is then repeated and adapted within the gallery space, becoming a giant set of wooden frames that begins to punch through the gallery's walls. It punches through to the corridor that leads through to the ICA bar, where there are usually wall-based works.
It moves around, like an aggressive piece of wooden scaffolding, and punches back through into the gallery space. It runs through to the reading room, and into the bar. You can climb on the wood, like a giant climbing frame. It still won't do anything: there are no fireworks here. The structure seems to have no regard for the gallery space – it does what it wants. It is simply too big for the gallery.
At the same time, however, its shape is absolutely informed by the exhibition space. It reminds you of what one usually expects when visiting an ICA exhibition, and where you go: through the first gallery space, down the corridor, into the bar, and sometimes up the stairs.
The artist has recently developed a way of working in which he turns up at the space with no specific plans, and works, on the exhibition site, with his own hands, exploring his own physical limits of building and making, and the limits of what the institution can take. By asking the staff if he can break through walls and staircases, he not only asks a lot of the building, but a lot of the staff, so that the ICA as an entire entity is, to some extent, dealing with the artist's structure.
It is, in some way, a portrait of the gallery, and the institution's personal, financial and architectural limits. Given that these limits have been publicly flogged in the public realm recently as the ICA suffers directorial and fiscal problems, it's clear that these are no small issues.
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