Viewing Wall Assembly, recent work from Andrew Kovacs, currently on view at Maple St. Construct.
By: Mike Nesbit
“Buildings are artificial constructions. They consist of single parts which must be joined together. To a large degree, the quality of the finished object is determined by the quality of the joins. In sculpture, there is a tradition that minimizes the expression of the joints and joins between the single parts in favor of the overall form … The direct, seemingly self-evident way in which these objects are put together is interesting. There is no interruption of the overall impression by small parts that have nothing to do with the object’s statement. Our perception of the whole is not distracted by inessential details. Every touch, every join, every joint is there in order to reinforce the idea of the quiet presence of the work.”
-Peter Zumthor, “Thinking about Architecture”
If we can agree that collage is the combination of different things … difference in visual perception and symbolic meaning … collage becomes a technique for taking one thing and placing it with another to make something else. Whether those differences are small or great they are still different and still collage. With this in mind … our current understanding of scale and objects could agree that if everything is different, then a combination of anything is collage. Contemporary representation thrives on information, addition, subtraction, change, comparisons, construction, deconstruction …. Collage. If we are living in a context of collage, then our own judgment system becomes critical for how we combine multiple things. If contemporary representation constructs itself within areas of abstraction and inefficiency’s, meaning 2 plus 2 can equals B, collage gives representation an infinite number of outs … a removal of “writer’s block”. The question is not, what move do you make … the question is what move do you not make?
A Tale of 3 Walls
I like to think that the Wall Assembly could have been finished 3 ways. First, the way of utility … nothing painted just pieced together in a haphazard way, but quite contextual to the space. The second, would be to paint the Wall Assembly white and homogenize everything … a seemingly predictable outcome in contemporary representation and seemingly nostalgic. The third and optimistic approach to represent the Wall Assembly is to take every component as an opportunity for design.
The Wall Assembly roughly shaped like a “J” in plan, is resting around a column. I use the word rest, because the Wall Assembly is not holding anything up or attached to anything below as it’s resting on the floor. The Wall Assembly surrounds a column which I’ll describe as the center of a clock to navigate. I’ll describe the Assembly into 3 parts. Part one, loosely located at 9 o’clock, is made from five staggered courses of CMU block (sistered together). Each top course is filled with soil and a tall grass bought from a local hardware store. The staggered course is resting on a half-inch board of plywood cut to the width of the course. Everything except the soil and tall grass is painted a Painter’s Tape Blue.
Working clockwise, part 2 of the Assembly is resting at roughly 11:00 o’ clock. Using modular sheets of plywood in the portrait position, the wall is resting at eight-feet by ten-feet. The inside of the wall reveals exposed studs at twenty-four-inches on center, with a top and bottom plate. The plywood face is painted a Primary Red and all adjacent/ perpendicular faces of studs and plates are painted to match. The face of studs and plates, parallel from the inner face of plywood have been painted a Primer White. The face of studs and plates along the last four feet (closer to 11:30) have been painted a Painter’s Tape Blue and cladded top to bottom with a panel of poly-carbonite, the translucency slightly muting its color. The outer face of wall … working from face of stud out, has been cladded in two stacked half-inch, four-by-eight sheets of plywood. The top sheet has been painted a Primer White, the bottom a Painter’s Tape Blue. Applied to the plywood, is a four-foot-tall by ten-foot-wide Charcoal Gray masonry wall, fully grouted. The masonry wall rests on an unpainted half-inch board of plywood cut to dimensions of the block. The masonry wall starts at roughly 11:00 o’clock with a flush edge and staggered pattern, as the wall ends around 12:00 o’clock the staggered course plays out and no cuts are made allowing every other block to cantilever above the next. Above the masonry wall is a four-foot by ten-foot area of cladding that is attached to the horizontal sheets of Primer White plywood. At roughly 11:00 o’clock the Primer White plywood is cladded with a four-foot by four-foot fascia about three-eighths thick. The fascia mimics the exposed framing behind the plywood it’s covering, appearing as if it was casted at first glance. Moving clockwise, the four-foot by four-foot board of fascia butts into a four-foot by six-foot horizontal “plank-like” siding. The siding is painted a Light Hue of Pink and due to the plywood below the masonry wall, slides a half-inch past the top of plywood that it covers.
The last part of the Wall Assembly, about four-feet tall and eight-feet wide is resting at 3 o’clock and butts into the back face of the cantilevered block. The inside face of the wall consists of two-by-four framing with a top and bottom plate. The four-linear feet adjacent to the poly-carbonated panel has been cladded with a quarter-inch sheet of plywood and painted a Primary Yellow. The rest of the framing has been left exposed on the back side and all faces have been painted a Muted Red, including the back side of the quarter-inch plywood that clads the front of the framing. The top plate and vertical outer face of post that butt up to the back face of the masonry wall have been cladded with a half-inch board of plywood, cut flush and painted a Painter’s Tape Blue. The outer face of the vertical post at the end of the wall, roughly 5 o’clock has been cladded with a half-inch board of plywood, cut flush and painted a Primer White. The front face of the four-foot by eight-foot wall has been cladded with a white opaque corrugated plastic, the flutes are running in the vertical direction. A found window about three-feet by two-feet with three lites and two rows, cantilevers off the end of the wall about six-inches. The window is about two-inches thick, made of wood, painted Black, and rests on the center of the Painter’s Tape Blue plywood board below. The Wall Assembly surrounds a column that holds the floor above. The column has been painted a Primary Yellow about ten-feet up.
resting around a column
Charcoal Gray masonry wall, fully grouted
flush edge and staggered pattern
A found window
a Light Hue of Pink and due