CRYSTAL BITES OF DUST. January – March 2013.
an exhibition by Mie Olise at Barbara Davis Gallery.
Mie Olise moved to a new studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn prior to working on the project.
Crossing the 9st bridge over Gowanus Canal every day, with abandoned factories and layers of monuments Olise became interested in this specific urban situation. Bridges on top of eachother and a canal so polluted that it reflects the sky in every colour.
The situation is similar to the one of New Jersey, bridges over polluted water. Monuments and ruins of Industrialism. Olise is interested in these non-spaces and voids that the industrial constructions creates. The space under the bridge. The pores of the city, left behind to fall into dust.
In 1967 Robert Smitson wrote ”The Monuments of the Passaic”, published in Art Forum. A day-trip to his native New Jersey and the monuments inhabiting it. Going over the bridges of the Hackensack River. The trip also became a series of photograhps. Robert Smitson uses the term ”non-spaces”, which in Olises vocabulary translates to ”pores”, the empty pores of the city (that she referred to in her 2008 exhibition at Barbara Davis, Penetrating Pores of Construction).
Mirroring New Jersey, on the other side of Manhattan, Olise investigates the monuments of Gowanus. The spaces beneath the bridges, an abandoned factory and the polluted waters of the Gowanus Canal.
As Robert Smithson went to the west of Manhattan, the Passaic bridges of New Jersey, describing the decaying monuments of the Hackensack River area, Olise goes eastto Brooklyn, and though in another much more inhabited context and in another time, she found a smiliar situation around the Gowanus Canal – black and dry as hell.
Olise views the industrial landscape as a ruin, falling apart constructions that, while they are still working, still hints the end of themselves and what they represent. Passing through these monuments, the crystals of industrialisation – falling apart, the visitor becomes one of the moving layers in the center of crosspaths, vertically, horisontally and historically.
The black dust falling down from the bridge, to the factory and into the canal – dust of the non-dissapearing kind.
As a part of investigating Olise – as Smithson – borrows material from the site, and in the proces she became interested in testing the water of the Gowanus Canal and later digging into the mud, to examine the pigmentation of the place. Painting has used earth pigments for colour since the cave paintings, which is still referred to in the names of the colours, Sienna, Umbra etc. All colour pigmentation used to come from the earth, today they are chemically made. Olise decided to use the mud from the canal as colour pigmentation following the ancient tradition. Only has the world changed and the earth pigmentation is today chemical – on site.