DAVID UMEMOTO. MONUMENTS
Modern Shapes gallery presents a solo exhibition by the Canadian architect and sculptor.
The work of David Umemoto exudes mystery, stimulates the imagination, but at the same time gives a sense of reflective discipline. In the twilight zone between sculpture and architecture, these pieces evoke the feeling of temporary buildings and monuments.The concrete works of David Umemoto stand as studies about volume. At the juncture of sculpture and architecture, these miniature pieces evoke temporary buildings or monuments standing on far-away lands. The images conveyed in the mind by these works are numerous. They refer to the archaic and the ephemeral, despite the solidity and the modernity of the medium.
Appearing before our eyes are pre-Columbian rock dwellings, god statues from the Andes or Easter Island, steles deteriorated by rain, remnants of modern cities having survived a cataclysm, fragments of Babylonian cities, colonial settlements brought down to their foundations, cenotaphs abandoned in the jungle…
When one sees Umemoto’s architecture sculptures, one thinks of the modernist complex of Brasilia by Niemeyer, lost in the Amazonian jungle, or of the complex of Chandigarh by Le Corbusier, in the heart of India. The walls rising towards nowhere, the curves running into ceilings, and the staircases leading into the void are reminiscent of the mysterious Prisons of Piranesi.
One way or another, these are always works where imagination joins forces with a contemplative discipline. All of Umemoto’s pieces are handmade, in order to respect an economy of means. The pressure of modernity imposes on man the obligation to evolve constantly, which leads him into an endless race towards technological improvement. As an artist, Umemoto chooses to react by taking a step backwards. His manual activities result from a desire to simplify artistic practice. Aesthetics and formalism are thus combined with a commitment to plainness. Opting for a low-tech stance, the artist wants to resist the demands of progress. He creates structured and modular pieces but these never perfectly fit together, a result of their willingly imperfect mode of production.
15.03 - 08.04.2018