Piero Atchugarry isn’t your garden-variety gallery. It is located in a restored horse stable in the middle of the countryside. To reach its entrance, visitors travel down a dirt road. This is Uruguayan chic, outdoorsy but elegant. It’s an ideal space for Lescher—a Brazilian contemporary artist whose works investigate the relationship between a gallery space and its environment—to create one of his post-minimal architectural installations.
The exhibition’s title, “Inner Landscape,” hints at the theme of the site-specific installation. For this piece, Lescher doesn’t just exhibit work inside the gallery; he uses colored panels and mirrors to transform the gallery itself, creating an exchange between outside and inside. The viewers “activate” the installation by stepping into the prismatic space and interacting with the installation—a life-size kaleidoscope that places the viewer at its center.
That human component is paramount in much of Lescher’s work, and in Neo-Concrete Art, the Brazilian movement that has greatly influenced him. With an emphasis on abstraction, freedom, and the merging of art and life, Neo-Concrete Art gained traction in the 1950s in response to the international movement of Concrete Art; the critic Ronaldo Brito called it a “rupture” in Brazilian art. By the time Lescher (he was born in São Paulo in 1962) broke onto the art scene in the 1980s, the groundwork for his practice was well-established in his native Brazil. “Inner Landscape,” like many of Lescher’s works, focuses on the viewer’s experience—the intersection between the gallery-going public and the space they enter.
Indeed, it would be fitting to call this monumental installation an event instead of a work. If you’re lucky enough to “activate” the installation in person, there’s hardly a better venue to explore the relationship between environment and human experience than a place as unspoiled as rural Uruguay.
“Inner Landscape” is on view at the Piero Atchugarry Gallery, Pueblo Garzón, Uruguay, Jan. 8 – April 10, 2016.