by Elizabeth Delaney for McColl Center for Art + Innovation
Analyzing spaces and how we interact with them is at the heart of Pablo Rasgado’s art practice.
The Mexico City-based artist considers architectural structures and the physical areas they carve out as cultural objects—living, changing reverberations of the actions and intentions surrounding them. “They’re an archive of what’s been happening,” he says.
Rasgado is interested in revealing the layers of history within a space, and this manifests in his work as strata of building material that have been added on, peeled away, or otherwise manipulated to preserve an aesthetic and spiritual record of place. He often appropriates structural components or signage from abandoned buildings, memorializing their forms and spurring a renewed dialogue about context and purpose.
Finding himself in McColl Center’s aged, multilayered building as a fall 2019 artist-in-residence has dovetailed nicely with Rasgado’s visual investigations.
Working amid the tiers of tangible and emotional matter, where modern veneers juxtapose seamlessly against original brick and stone, has served as a purposeful backdrop to his forthcoming project: an installation that addresses the intersection of architecture and sculpture and how each is defined within that actuality.
The genesis of Rasgado’s latest project is reflected in the close-up black-and-white photographs of museum interiors that hang in his studio like a decorative frieze. The photographed spaces operate simultaneously as monuments to the past and emblems of the present, stacking historic and contemporary architectural forms to create structures within structures. Further, they conjure a fascinating duality—the intricately designed exhibition spaces act as both containers of art and pieces of art, thus blurring the line between form and function.
The panoramic collection becomes an abstracted narrative about space, evoking notions of how it’s compartmentalized, how the disparate parts coexist, and how they affect us as we travel through them. Ultimately, Rasgado seeks to illuminate and reconcile what he describes as the “messages contained in architecture—the messages we leave and the messages that are imposed on us.”