Letitia Gallery is pleased to announce a new solo exhibition by the British artist Nathaniel Rackowe, which takes the city of Beirut as a point of departure in order to investigate the ever-changing nature of cites, and their continual destruction and renewal.
The Shape of a City uses industrial materials such as corrugated roofing, galvanised steel and cement blocks, and combines them with artificial light; used to soften the hard edges of the mass produced materials, allowing Rackowe to explore the ways in which urban dwellers must continually adapt their behaviour in order to successfully negotiate the built landscape.
Dominating the entrance and cutting through the gallery space is a large scale installation, which invites viewers to interact with it by walking around or passing through it. The structure, LP48, combines different construction materials, which have been locally-sourced – mass-produced, glass re-enforced plastic (GRP) sheeting and folded galvanised steel - with standard white fluorescent lights, creating a structure that hovers between minimal installation and building site. In the combination of familiar parts into a new aesthetic, Rackowe invites the viewer to reconsider their relationship with the city. LP48 demonstrates a progression from Rackowe’s existing Pathfinding series of works, which similarly use locally-sourced blocks and light and which has been constructed in cities from Paris to Bangkok.
Occupying the central gallery are six new floor-based sculptural works: cement blocks, each illuminated by a cube of white neon creating a geometric halo of light. These sit alongside a new series of framed, mixed-media works on paper, Petrol Station Series, the scale of which will range from small works to one large scale piece.
The Shape of a City extends beyond the walls of Letitia Gallery with the installation of two large-scale public works - Black Shed Expanded and LP46 – which are situated in various publicly-accessible spaces in downtown Beirut. The positioning of the sculptures in the context of the urban landscape, which inspires so much of Rackowe’s work, allows the pieces to take on new meaning in the context of the open space.