"Arte Six": May 2004: ART: "Urgent Architecture"

Through July 11th
"Urgent Architecture"
Outlaw architecture is the subject of LVAC's
new exhibition, "Marjetica Potrc: Urgent Architecture".

Artist/architect Marjeta Potrc is known for her ingenious re-imaginings of architectural structures in 'unplanned' cities (barrios, favelas, shantytowns and squatter communities).

The highlight of the exhibition is a massive installation of housing units, "Hybrid House: Caracas, West Bank, West Palm Beach" (2003), a complex and visually arresting architectural collage based on her research into densely populated communities in Caracas, the West Bank, and West Palm Beach.

Working with the themes of security, defense and the pursuit of happiness, Potrc has constructed a massive installation of housing units based on what she had seen of gated communities and temporary shelters (that have become permanent) in Caracas, the West Bank, and West Palm Beach.

Potrc saw strong affinities between these three areas in terms of the tensions between planned and unplanned space.

Using available materials such as concrete blocks, barbed wire, wood, and aluminum, Potrc’s installation is a monolithic testimony to the power of art and architecture in shaping and re-imagining the human environment.

She is also premiering a series of drawings of Boston’s Big Dig Project.

The exhibition also includes works from her "Power Tools Series" such as "Hippo Water Roller", a rolling container for water that substitutes for the heavy vessels women still use to carry water, in various parts of the world.

Marjetica Potrc has particular interest in “informal” or “unplanned” cities, such as those that develop in major urban areas like São Paolo, Brazil; Caracas, Venezuela; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and many other cities in the world.

Given the often desperate lack of resources in these communities, Potrc designs “self-sustaining” housing units that provide water, sewage, and electrical service to the occupants.

Rather than designing purely practical and drab residences, she injects her designs with glowing colors (pinks and oranges) as a way of celebrating life and the beauty she sees in shared needs.

“We all seek the same things,” she says, “shelter, food, water, and beauty.”

"Marjetica is one of the most extraordinary artists I have ever encountered. Her work doesn’t happen in the isolated confines of the studio, but rather in the world where masses of people compete for space and basic necessities. But far from being depressing or confrontational, her work is charged with beauty, humor and a tremendous sense of possibility. She is involved in a huge enterprise which involves nothing less than the fundamentals of human life and spirit."
– Michael Rush, director of Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art (PBICA)

Artist bio: Marjetica Potrc was born in 1953 in Slovenia, where she still resides. She received art and architecture degrees at the University of Ljubljana where she is now a professor at the Academy of Fine Art. She has exhibited worldwide including the Venice Biennale in 1993, the São Paolo Biennial in 1996, and exhibits at the Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin.

Find it: MIT List Visual Arts Center(LVAC)
20 Ames Street Building E15, Atrium level
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
Get info: (617) 253-4680

Read more art news in the May 2004 issue of "Arte Six".