Home Architect Felipe Scovino on Lucia Koch

Felipe Scovino on Lucia Koch

by godlove4241
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In his critical text for Lucia Koch’s exhibition “Short(Section), Francesco Perrotta-Bosch points out that the artist works with “waste”: the raw materials that are the subject of his photographs are made up of discarded packaging. The exhibition brought together the most recent works of this series of images from the inside of boxes, on which Koch has been working for almost twenty years.

In Koch’s paintings, these cardboard interiors sometimes evoke simple domestic interiors; at other times they look like scenes where drama is about to happen. Something is strangely familiar in these spaces empty of people but filled with references to the history of art and architecture. Arroz Jasmine (Jasmine Rice; all works cited, 2023), for example, offers a minimalist composition of shapes and colors infiltrated by a beam of light. A small opening in the box shown not only simulates a window, but also significantly represents a vanishing point in perspective. Light is the central character of this photograph, highlighted by its hanging next to the gallery’s only window. The way Koch works with scale in the photographs gives an architectural spatiality to an ordinary small-sized object and gives an enigmatic effect to these images.

The window cut into the left side of the box interior shown in lasagna seems to overlook a garden or a wood. Light filtered through the outer foliage casts mottled reflections on the inner wall of the carton. The photograph is not fixed to the wall but is held up by a freestanding wooden structure so that the bottom of the image almost touches the ground. This display, along with the striking dimensions of the work (nearly eight by five feet), give it a sense of immersion. Kombucha revives the constructive geometric visuality so dear to Brazilian modernist art and architecture. We see the cardboard dividers that create compartments for a dozen bottles, but the bottles themselves are absent. While the cardboard grid creates an overall regularity, what becomes more evident on closer inspection is the banality of the cardboard box, its slightly twisted folds and lines. Moreover, a fleeting, almost imperceptible but significant clue is evident in this play between embrace and denial of a history of Brazilian architecture so vaunted that it has almost become the definitive and unique model for subsequent generations. The unequal perimeter of the cubes forms a design similar to those of the cobogos, perforated ceramic or concrete bricks used to create screen walls that provide shade and ventilation – an architectural device particularly associated with the work of French Brazilian architect Lúcio Costa (1902–1998), among others. Between homage and critical judgement, appearance and simulation, architecture and trash, Koch’s work builds a poetics of doubt.

Translated from Portuguese by Clifford E. Landers.

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