The Largo, Porto
The Largo hotel opened earlier in 2023. The Midsummer Exhibition was one of the inauguration events. The objective of this exhibition was to work with found material – ceiling-panels removed from one of the hotel rooms. Each artist participating in the exhibition was invited to creatively modify the panels and transform them into artworks.
I proposed a multimedia installation – a composition of three ceiling-panels and videomapping.
The original ceiling-panels found in the Largo’s building are of remarkable shape and form. They are an example of both functionality and beauty. They demonstrate their designer’s care for the detail and aesthetics in order to make a space more welcoming as well as better termically and acoustically isolated.
Most contemporary architectural projects use more modern solutions for issues such a humidity. It is very rare to find a family house with a wooden ceiling if you think about it, unless it is on a top floor of a building where the wooden beams and panelling of the roof structure have been uncovered. In that case, the wooden ceiling is purely functional, we have learnt to see its beauty in the engineering, not necessarily in the intended decorative purpose.
Restoration is a way of honouring the past. While working on this project I spent almost the same amount of time removing the thick layer of years of dust and sand covering the panels as I did videomapping them, yet that part of the process is completely invisible. I intentionally left the panels as they are, didn’t physically interfere in them apart from bringing them back to their current state and colour. The ceiling-panels are almost readymades to me. I used them as a base of my artwork, as a canvas for a digital drawing.
The installation attempts to draw attention to the ceiling-panels’ intricate detail and craftmansship. Their original shape and the lines that constitute its construction appeal to me strongly since I analyze lines, grids and their distortion in my artistic practice.
Through such approach I wanted to give importance to the ceiling-panels and put them in the spotlight as the main character of my intervention. The contents of the video that serve as the videomapping projections accentuate the beautiful and complex design of the panels. The animations are inspired by the objects’ geometry and are creatively modified in numerous ways without interfering with the objects’ structure. The ceiling-panels serve as the videomapping’s projection screen.
The ceiling-panels’ forms, even though crafted in the second half of the 18th century, are of a very contemporary shape. The lines and grids are e very common motive in contemporary 3d design – architects, designers, animators or digital sculptors are all exposed to it daily. Everyone who learnt how to work with perspective (painters, sculptors) knows that a grid is an inevitable base of correctly representing an object.
The installation plays with the notion of time, it is anachronic. The light projection may bring up associations to a spectre, a hallucination. It is intangible, ephemeral almost. It is ghostly and ghosts are a thing of the past, a memory of past happenings. The installation inverts the future and the past – the object of the past is material and solid, and what resembles a memory, a hallucination is a thing of the future – digital projection technology.