‘The finger that points to the moon is not the moon’: article by Ivo Verheyen
‘Mirrored Spaces’: Article in Hart-Magazine by Anne-Marie Poels (26th of January 2017)
Katie Lagast and Marta Castelo in WOOT
THROUGH THE MIRROR
Anyone exploring the works of Katie Lagast (°1967, BE) and Marta Castelo (°1980, PT) will immediately be struck by the ways each embraces the medium of ceramics.Lagast uses it to capture the urban area around her; a drain cover, a part of a cobblestoned street or a concrete traffic barrier on the road. Castelo, for her part, builds objects and installations that reference architecture. Working together for the very first time they have created a site-specific work for (Woot), an art space based in Luchtbal, a neighbourhood in Antwerp (B).
The exhibition space (Woot) is situated on a street corner, with two large windows one on each side and an entrance in the middle. The space is an almost a perfect copy of Castelo’s atelier in Lisbon (P). Lagast explains: “This was such an exceptional coincidence that we decided to work with these parallels between the two locations.” They initiated the work in Castelo’s studio and continued for five more days at (Woot). They thus established an architectural installation that refers not only to the working space in Lisbon but also to the environment of (Woot).On a bed of sheets of paper, a stack of unfired bricks has been build. Some have rounded corners, others are rectangular in shape like house bricks, a few have geometrical forms such as cylinders. Most of the stones are cement gray in colour – this is the colour of the clay, which has been excavated at Montemor-O-Novo (P) and used for traditional handmade bricks fired in the local brick factory. “Oficinas Do Convento”, a residency for contemporary artists where Castelo introduced Lagast, works in collaboration with this factory.
The pattern formed by the tiles on the floor of Castelo’s studio space was the starting point for this installation. The shape and the dimensions of the rounded-cornered stones are based on the pattern in reverse. The bricks were made with wooden moulds, but Castelo also modelled some objects by hand, including the small the triangular one. The structure can be seen as an inversion of the floor but is not an exact copy of it: it looks as if a landscape has been created using the ceramic elements, perhaps a cityscape with high and low-rise buildings, a higher cylindrical form as a landmark in the middle; perhaps a factory.Alice in Wonderland stepped through the looking glass to find a world of pure fantasy. In real life, the mirror shows us images which are both a reflections and interpretations. We look through a mirror to see the fantasy world Castelo and Lagast have created.
The space and environment of (Woot) is also integrated into the work. The white painted shapes on the wall are based on the lines formed by the sun entering the room during the working process. The grid on the paper floor is made up of lines referencing the pavement outside. This paper floor is cut out on one side and taped together on the other side. A strange anomaly is apparent in the pavement a little before its curve. These peculiarities that often appear in the work of Lagast. She turns the irregularity of a row of cobblestones on the street, for example, into a work of art. This type of interaction can also be found in the work of Castelo, Lagast explains: “She is always accurate in looking for lines and references when she works site-specifically. She integrates them very precisely into her work.‘Mirrored Spaces’ unveils to the public what both artists have in common: they start with a thorough investigation of the world around them, both being gifted with a particularly keen eye. The result is a magnificent and modest artistic experience. We can only hope that it has not just been a one-off collaboration.
‘Spots #3’: Article in Hart-Magazine by Anne-Marie Poels (23th of November 2013)