In “2013 merge_06” Tomaz Hipólito (b.1969, Lisbon) follows his obsession with notions of space, whether physical, personal or historical. With the concept of vital space as background, Hipólito’s work is an ongoing research, driven by what the artist called “mapping gesture.”
The title of the exhibition clearly indicates the artist’s need for mapping. By using preexistent coordinates, Hipólito creates a new territory, which situates itself between reality and experience. This so-called “interval” is where the artist’s core themes are exhaustively revisited, and begin with the staging and investigation, revealing methods through which we apprehend the relations between persona, object and space.
Archives have in recent years gained a privileged position as a point of access to previous artistic experiences. By delving into Squat Theatre’s Archive, the artist’s intent was not to rescue the artistic practice of this experimental theater group – whose actions have remained in New York’s underground mythology and in the memory of those who had the chance to see them live – but rather to reuse it according to his own needs. Thus, Hipólito brings light to their practice while using it as a means to his own researches, which encompass some of the group’s issues.
Squat Theatre can trace its origins to Budapest in the late 1960s. Initially known as Kassak Studio, its members renamed the group after being expelled from Hungary due to their avant-garde and radical practice. After creating and touring with their first storefront play in Western Europe for more than a year, they permanently relocated to New York City in 1977.
From then on and until 1985 their activity would take place at 256 West 23rd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues. Its members lived and performed in a building on the same block with one of New York’s artistic Meccas, the Chelsea Hotel. Although the actual building no longer exists – having been replaced by a cinema complex – Squat Theatre’s plays and performances were intimately connected to the space where they were taking place. Playing with the inside and the outside or the public and the private sphere, Squat’s performances were able to blur several frontiers, namely the role of the intervening and the non-intervening parties and the perception of space. A storefront would never be a storefront again after being converted into the scenography of politically and poetically charged plays.
By comprising multiple media, such as photography, film, video, painting, drawing and performance, Tomaz Hipólito intervenes in the aforementioned “interval.” It is fair to believe that Rooster’s premises become a new territory, the interval itself, in an ambiguous game between past and present.
Therefore, in “2013 merge_06” Hipólito operates in and with Time and Space the same way Squat Theatre did, blurring frontiers and continuously challenging the viewer’s perceptions of lived-memory and built-memory.
Weekly performances will take place inside and outside Rooster Gallery.