A long standing program curated by the Orange County Museum of Art, the California Pacific Triennial began as a biennial focused on featuring contemporary art from artists working along the Pacific Ocean rim. In this second Triennial year, OCMA is showcasing 25 artists, a comprehensive mix of residents from Victoria, Canada all the way over to Brisbane, Australia. In this very interactive show, these artists delved into the concepts of architecture and how it relates to our society and histories. Among the themes were thoughts on home and displacement, elements of preservation and innovation, and its temporary nature that is continually evolving around us.
This installation heavy show offered many opportunities to interact with the work. From Carmen Argote's sculptural inspired garments that the viewers can actually wear to Super Critical Mass's floor game that spanned a whole hallway, California Pacific Triennial allowed these artists to encompass these spaces and even transform the building itself. Santiago Borja's multiple interpretations of a poem about graves as architectural mounds led to a cut hole in the concrete floor, a physical representation of the grave itself. As an ode to the exhibition's main theme, the temporary and transformative nature of architecture, each installation felt free from any artistic hindrance.
My favorite room space included two artists, both exploring architecture's evolution and relationship with society. Centrally located within the room resides a large, steel skeleton structure. Silent videos describe how the structure can provide a multi-purpose space for communities that could benefit from a "town square" or cultural area. Created by Estudio Teddy Cruz and Forman, the structure acts as a farmer's market, gallery, town hall, meeting room, auditorium, and the list goes on. The construction of the building allows the inhabitants a versatile shelter unit that is minimal, but highly effective. Inspired by their work in Tijuana, this San Diego-based artistic collaboration centers their creation on the need for community.
On the walls surrounding this piece, Alex Slate's photographs depict a different scene, one in which urban development is changing the landscape of Los Angeles. Large, beautiful and unyielding, Slate's photographs offer a look into the evolutionary movement that architecture in cities is taking. In complete contrast with one another, these two works showcase the societal difference that is displayed through architecture.
Just like any successful triennial or biennial should, the artists involved discuss important themes and elements that are critical to consider from all angles of the planet. Rare opportunities such as these bring these voices together allowing the participants a space to examine a worldwide perspective seen through visual art.