Impermanent Shelter is the second exhibition in the One Vast Library program. This presentation takes as its starting point the utopic proposals for an ‘architecture of the air’ by the late French proto- conceptualist Yves Klein, his last body of work before his death in 1962. The artist conceived of controlled “climatized” environments for living: demarcated with ceilings of pneumatic air, walls made of fire, and floating platforms as floors and furniture. As this exhibition demonstrates, the realities of the present day produce a far more complicated intersection of the built environment with the atmosphere, utilising Klein’s concept as a point of critical comparison. Examined through a series of moving image works that reflect on the theme, these ‘aerial architectures’ of today are porous and precarious, beset by the very elements that Klein conceived as the ideals for future living.
Yves Klein, Sasha Litvintseva & Graeme Arnfield, Ben Rivers, Susan Schuppli, and Joel Sherwood-Spring.
About One Vast Library curated by Tim Riley Walsh
One Vast Library (OVL) is a series of three exhibitions, accompanying events and publishing presented at MADA Gallery. The project’s title is drawn from the writings of the 19th century English mathematician and early innovator of machine computing Charles Babbage who represented the atmosphere as a shared repository of human memory, breath, and emission, “one vast library on whose pages are forever written all that man has ever said”. OVL aims to articulate a changing relationship with the atmosphere in the context of climate crisis by demonstrating its fluctuating representation across late 20th and early 21st century Australian and international art. By placing both recent and historical works in dialogue, the project intends to describe the air of the present as an increasingly precarious space, thick with social, political, economic, and cultural frictions and machinations.
One Vast Library has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.