Missing Parts

Dominik Lang


The Gallery Apart - via Francesco Negri 43, Rome

kurátor: Lýdia Pribišová

foto: Claudia Pajewski

The Gallery Apart is pleased to announce the opening of its new exhibition spaces located in via Francesco Negri 43, which coincides with the presentation of Missing Parts, the first solo show by Czech artist Dominik Lang to be hosted by an Italian art gallery and curated by Lýdia Pribišová.

For the inaugural exhibition Dominik Lang has conceived a site-specific installation which interacts with the new distinctive gallery spaces. Lang systematically investigates the environment that surrounds him, transforming it through his architectural interventions. For the Missing Parts exhibition the artist has created a monumental relief artwork that connects the three gallery’s exhibition floors. In the design and creation of his artwork, the artist has followed two different streams of meaning. A first starting point is the mapping of the space taking also into consideration the atmosphere around the gallery, according to a process developed by Lang by attributing to his sculptural piece the role of a physical reaction to the place layout, where space is made twice the size as it is reflected on the relief panels. By placing the work in a way that, as visitors enter the gallery, they will immediately catch sight of its inner support - which usually remains invisible - , Lang deconstructs the space by overshadowing the viewer's first sight of the work itself. The artwork blends seamlessly into the gallery space, thus establishing a mimetic mechanism. Moreover, due to its outstanding size, the artwork covers the gallery’s windows, blocking out the light and therefore making its visual perception even more challenging.

Hence, the second stream of meaning intervenes, which involves the deconstruction of the function as well as the reconsideration of the role, of the resulting expectations and of the relevance of the private gallery. Dominik Lang here reprises and refers to the major themes of the conceptual artist Michael Asher. Similarly to the American artist, Lang tries not to adopt a radical or aggressive approach in his criticism of art institutions, rather the artist, just like Asher, musters the encouragement to improve and “care” for the limiting organizational contexts within the exhibition spaces. Moreover, in this operation, Lang also raises the question of the public commissioning of the works of art for the architecture field. Lang also introduces spatio-temporal dynamics, as the massive sculpted piece is made from 63 modular units that are exactly the same size and that can also be disassembled. The relief segments are therefore decomposable to be then reassembled in the next space, but in a different way. Finally, Lang presents a sculpture-worktable that represents a sketch of composition of the outstanding relief piece, to which it is meant to be some sort of epilogue. Although in the past Dominik Lang drew on inspiration from the artistic production of the second postwar period, for the Roman exhibition he has identified the formal archetype of reference in an iconic modernist work. The gallery space might be conceived as the temporary studio of the artist; Dominik Lang in fact brings out a relic of the past, a formal and ideal groundwork, in order to interpret and use in an original way the artwork.

We can interpret the relief’s missing parts as the missing spaces in History, which, in order to be added, require the archeological research. The parts that are temporarily missing from the mosaic provide the space with a new configuration and development. As Lang metaphorically draws on the formal exercises devised by the Bauhaus, he offers a game of shapes, of lines and of volumes, which find their application in the physical space as well as in the man’s real life through city planning projects, as if they were silhouettes of parks, gardens and avenues designed inside triangles, circles and curves.

The relief, therefore, has not just brought about the ruine of modernism, but it represents the mental pattern that can be formally exploited in our everyday life, in our environment and in our thought.