SITE-SPECIFIC ART: KORBAN/FLAUBERT
This Sydney-based duo works across design and sculpture, producing furniture, sculpture, screens and installations. Often working within an architectural project, their work demonstrates the way site-specific art is becoming more integrated into the natural landscape as well as man-made structures. We hear from Stefanie Flaubert as to how these various spaces differ and what makes them so intriguing.
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How do you approach your projects? Do you find a site and see it as a potential place to work with, or do you have an idea and search for a space?
Our site specific work tends to be commissioned, as a part of an architectural project. We develop sculpture for architectural interiors and external public spaces. We tend to treat these spaces as landscapes as much as real landscapes. The surrounds.
What are you working on and what excites you about a project that’s built into a landscape?
Currently we are working on a massive screen sculpture wrapping across the front of a project on New South head Road in Rushcutters Bay. This project is a great opportunity to work with a fast kinetic traffic dynamic, we’re building into a massive roaring unidirectional landscape, very exciting. Other pieces seek to work against the landscape they are embedded into, to create a compelling moment by contrast. Sydney sites often conceal intriguing hidden stories. For example we have worked on a few sites where the work can tell the story of Sydney’s shifting waterfront edge, nature and development, reclamation and instability.
Can you tell us a little bit about how the viewer plays into your art?
There is a physical response to the perception of movement in sculpture. A sense of physical involvement and unwilled mirroring or imitation (motor simulation). We have recently created our own installation space above our workshop to explore this idea.
We are using a travelling line to describe movement in a moment that explores the tension between instability and equilibrium. The lines also trace an elastic kind of volume in outline, an outline which expands and contracts as you walk around it.
For the last few years we have explored slow, centralized lines. This year we have been working on a series of maquettes and larger pieces that look at the speed and intensity of compressed fast lines. Our studio installation space lets us experiment and experience.
What is most challenging about your kind of art and how do you combat that?
We love the ductility and lustre of metal. Janos has spent 20 years wrangling metal: testing and manipulating it. He has developed pretty amazing technical skills but metal is always a challenge. The stresses in metal can be like heightened stresses in a living human or animal body: creases, muscles, fluidity. Metal can express emotion this way too. The energy and motion of something animal. Contained energy, ready to spring or run or attack or recoil.
Anything else noteworthy to add?
Visitors have commented that workshop space becomes an installation space in itself. The action of the manipulation and work laid bare becomes an experience in itself. The close connection between the workshop and the studio gallery space we have found to be critical in moving forward with the theme. Our setup can be considered a bit hermetic, but being control freaks we like it like that. These smaller works in our space then inform our larger commissioned work.