Alice Clements - Primary

Primary is a sculptural installation designed and built for LAMOA’s first show at Occidental College. The piece is made up of two painted A-frame partitions resting on the center beam of LAMOA’s roof. It is designed to reflect and expand on the design of Könitz’s structure, while politely intervening in the space.

The front partition is made to be stepped over and under by the viewer.  The height of this step up matches the height of the initial step up into the museum space.  Clements has used her own body proportions to design the partition such that the viewer has to step up and duck under the front partition to arrive at the space between the two partitions which is painted yellow on both sides, making it a space of its own.

The dimensions of the back partition are taken from the shoulders-to-head cropped frame of the standard elementary school photo, so that the visitor between the partitions appears framed by a backdrop echoing elementary school picture conventions, though using design elements inspired by mid-century French designer Jean Prouvé. 

From outside the structure, the visitor inside is visually truncated into body parts by the partitions.  Subtle humor lies in the way the circles perforating the partition can be used as framing port holes or otherwise break up the view from the inside and body from the outside. 

The title Primary refers to the fact that this is the first show at LAMOA during its stay at Occidental College, as well as reflecting the artist’s interest in structuring the space in simple ways.  Primary colors and gray reinforce the way the piece addresses the foundations of design.

                                    Photos: Veit Bastian