entry: General Conditions

Marquise, 2007

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster


For her contribution to the 2006 São Paulo Biennial, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster used the work of Oscar Niemeyer as a starting point for an exploration of the relationship between the exhibition space and the urban context, through an intervention in which she reproduces and multiplies existing columns, reconfiguring the reading of the rhythm and proportions of modern architecture.

The Marquise, in Sao Paulo’s Parque Ibirapuera, an enormous concrete canopy designed by Niemeyer in 1954, is therefore the subject and setting of this film, in which the artist reveals her interest in ‘tropical modernism’ and develops certain recurrent themes in her work, such as ideas of shelter, playground or potential space.
The intimate narrative of a childhood experience in the space, which is populated by its habitual users and, simultaneously, by the columns introduced by the artist, acts as the conduit for a reflection on the role of the viewer in the resignification of spaces, and the ambiguous relationship between reality and fiction, perception and memory. An ambiguity which is derived from the very nature of this construction, which can be understood as either an autonomous entity or part of a building, as external or internal, as an area to stop in or one to merely pass through, as a multipurpose space or a rhetorical statement with no specific function...
The ambiguity of the space is echoed by the indeterminate nature of the period in which the action and its subsequent narration takes place and, above all, by the subjectivity of the narrator who here embodies the possibility of convergence between the human dimension and the spirit of the location, in an encounter which momentarily liberates the architecture from its intrinsic immobility. Apparently everything moves below the great canopy. Everything, except the construction itself. ‘Eppur si muove!’.

Helena Barranha