André Komatsu

Untitled (Living Room)

2005

Not on display
Artist
André Komatsu born 1978
Original title
Sin Titulo (Sala de Estar)
Medium
Wood, formica and brass
Dimensions
Object: 460 x 371 x 47 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Pedro Barbosa 2011
Reference
T13583

Summary

Untitled (Living Room) 2005 is a drawing of an item of household furniture, a cabinet with two doors, executed by engraving into the formica surface of a door identical to that of the cabinet depicted. The metal hinge of the door support is still attached to its left hand side, while the knob protrudes near the right hand edge. In the drawing, one of the cabinet doors is slightly ajar and next to this is a decorative lattice feature. The title indicates the domestic setting of the original piece of furniture. In the mid-2000s, Komatsu made a number of similarly tautological drawings that were done on found or discarded objects, or parts of objects, and yet which depicted the original object intact. Such works reflect on the mechanics of both drawing and of representation, forcing the viewer to take a second look at the overlooked, mundane or discarded. They also evince a simple pleasure in drawing for its own sake.

Komatsu works in a variety of media including installation, sculpture, video and performance. Nevertheless, he has repeatedly returned to drawing, often executing his drawings on eccentric supports, including reclaimed surfaces or found objects, though he also works in more straightforward media such as watercolour on paper. In his work Komatsu explores the ways in which people negotiate urban space and the power structures that are embodied within the built environment. His work brings a wry humour to bear on people’s everyday experience of cities, and in particular the arbitrary, often surreal and chaotic environment of a megalopolis such as São Paulo.

Komatsu’s work questions how people situate themselves within that environment, in relation to its fabric and to others, examining their reaction to their surroundings, to the territorial limits placed on them, and their strategies of transformation and survival. Komatsu takes inspiration from his own perambulations through the city, and his personal reactions, observations and frustrations. In particular, he notes the constant flux within such a large city, the incessant building and demolition, or the partial execution of these, as well as ‘the wreckage that reconstructs itself, the destruction that transforms’ (unpublished artist’s statement, undated, provided by Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo). Many of his works manifest things in a transitory state thus also denoting a time of use or consumption, as well as placing an emphasis on waste, recycling and improvisation. It is in this context that his drawings can also be seen, as personalised moments of reflection within the flux of modern life.

Further reading
Atto Belloli Ardessi and Ginevra Bria (eds.), After Utopia, exhibition catalogue, Museo Centro Pecci, Prato 2009.
Jose Roca (ed.), Ensaios de Geopoéticas, exhibition catalogue, 8th Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil 2011.
Tanya Barson and Kate Macfarlane (eds.), The Peripatetic School: Itinerant Drawing from Latin America, exhibition catalogue, Drawing Room, London 2011.

Tanya Barson
August 2011

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