Portable Elastic Temple
Anna Gonzalez-Noguchi, James Fuller
Curated by Angelo Plessas
14.12.2022 – 18.02.2023
Recently, an essay on Plato’s description of God Poseidon's temple in the imaginary city of Atlantis, caught my attention. He was describing the exterior of the temple covered in a shiny silver paint where the finishing edges were made of gold. While the interior of the temple’s roof was made of ivory, and the columns and walls were predominantly bronze. It was a huge space that could host as many as a 100-person choir. Imagine what a phantasmagoria! This spectacular image of the infinite imagination of Plato does not surprise me his words always connect me with a transcending dimension. Antiquity and religion have always served as the battleground for the origins of art and (impromptu) of art criticism as the above description makes it a very prominent example. Temples have always been spaces that embody sacred and collective modes of experiencing beliefs. They represent points for identification and at the same time they aspire to offer visions of an ideal life and existence. In some cases, temples are manifestations of qualities that pervade matter.
As society became more secular and more materialistic humans adopted a more mechanical version of other living beings.They saw everything as chemical machines, collections of atoms and molecules, downscaling consciousness as a fundamental spirit force. But one can have its own vision of sacred space and its new self- interpretative traditions. For me sacred spaces they offer an alternate and ambiguous image. They represent a retreat into the particular, a place where conscious or unconscious semiotic energies meet and expand. They are located in the here and now and at the same time function as openings, thresholds, and portals to another dimension, a world of personal gods, spirits, symbols, particles, obsessions, and senses.
Portable Elastic Temple is the title of the show which poses themes on the fluidity and mobility of materiality, as its graphic title suggests. A modular mix of animated and adaptable spirit objects which is investigated masterfully by two young artists Anna Gonzalez Noguchi (b.1992 Japan-Spain) and James Fuller (b.1988, UK).
h e two artists share their common lives in Athens,Portable Elastic Temple is one of the series of shows at P.E.T. Projects focusing on and presenting foreign artists who are based in Athens.
The works of Noguchi-Gonzalez and Fuller are quite different from each other yet there are some elements that are inter-dependent, intriguing networks of material energies penetrating and intermingling their works. Οbjects of contradictory emotions span between zinc coated steel furniture, nickel staple Japan-ness, textile mattresses ASCII-style with text diagrams, elaborate waxes, to aluminum and magnet surfaces, all work in contrast and in harmony. Both artists' practice expands the knowledge of materials through an alchemical transmutation, opening up themes of ancestral obsessions and folk, panspiritist cosmologies, texts, and semiotic experimentation.
In one of our meetings, Fuller told me “You could write my interest in sculpture is about energy transfer and transformation, and this is the defining relationship for all things, oil into fuel, plants into medicine, people into plants. It can be a defining way to understand intelligence and empathy in other species for instance”. A specific work that encapsulates this statement done by Gonzalez-Noguchi titled SUNTOPIA is an engraved steel surface that comes from photographs of Japanese weeds that permeate disused spaces. The foliage takes over the metal surfaces, forming a camouflage.
The intimacy of the setting of this work puts me in mindscape of an unexpected impromptu temple where all non- living beings and all living beings are interconnected. A system in which the most basic particles of matter have some form of inner being or some sort of experience. I am quoting Plato again as he coined the term “anima mundi” which means everything in existence shares a soul. This way the temple becomes a meditation that builds connections and inner experiences, it becomes an ethereal device that is everywhere and in everything.