Luca Frei (* 1976 in Lugano, Switzerland) is known for conceiving spaces that encourage free learning and emancipatory action. His work undermines the boundaries between fine and applied arts and design. In his solo exhibition at Galerie Barbara Wien in 2015 Frei introduced the visitor to the Electro-Acoustic Experimental Studio in Gravesano that German conductor Hermann Scherchen created for sound research and musical events of the avantgarde in the 1960s. For the Bauhaus anniversary exhibition bauhaus imaginista, he was commissioned to restage and re-design the Exhibition of Life Construction, a show produced by Renshichiro Kawakita and Takehiko Mizutani at the Tokyo Academy of Arts in 1931, which played a fundamental role in first introducing the Bauhaus to Japanese audiences. In his current solo exhibition at our gallery, entitled Process charts pLay, Frei presents new sculptures, installations and paintings. All works refer to a simple drawing tool in plastic with geometrical cut out symbols, a common flowchart template.
The flowchart template has its origins in the first organised method for visualising work related processes in means of improvement and efficiency. The method was invented by the American scientist Lillian Gilbreth and her husband Frank Gilbreth. In 1921, they presented the method in their paper Process Diagram: First Steps to Finding the Best way to Work. From the work of the Gilbreths, the flowchart template as a mass-produced drawing tool with a standardised set of symbols for visualising processes was developed in the mid-50s. The exhibition title Process charts pLay is borrowed from the Gilbreths' paper from 1921, in which they established the efficiency of process charts. The transition from pay to play is significant for the works in the exhibition. The works confirm Frei's interest in creating narrative environments and visual languages based on existing objects, documents and archival materials, through a recycling of forms and meaning. Frei's choice of appropriating, unpacking, transforming and renaming, is never a negation, but a way to disturb established concepts by suggesting alternative readings. Frei's multi-part sculpture Circular arrangement for sitting, standing, and dancing is formed by eight geometric elements upholstered in bright coloured fabric arranged in a circular formation. Together they form a three-dimensional landscape, which proposes a setting that has the potential of being put into use or interacted with. The eight paintings uses the geometric shapes found in the installation. Each shape is painted in a light earthy tone on raw canvas and the shape is outlined with a black hand-sewn contour. Above or below the shape, a word is hand written in cursive. The words are taken from the name of the symbols in the flowchart, but have been transformed by Frei's own interpretation. For example manual input has been changed to write. Finally, a piece of the same fabric used for upholstering the geometric elements in the installation has been stapled onto the canvas like a sample, matching the actual shape and colour. Rörelse, a series of wall objects that take their title from Swedish "movement", consists of transparent acrylic segments connected by metal joints so that they can be folded. The segments are based on the same geometric shapes found in the paintings and the installation Circular arrangement for sitting, standing, and dancing.
Luca Frei (* 1976 in Lugano, Switzerland) lives and works in Malmö, Sweden. His solo exhibitions include institutions such as the Kunsthaus Glarus; the Bonner Kunstverein; and the Lunds Konsthall; along with participation in biennials such as the Cairo Biennial; the Prague Biennial; and the Istanbul Biennial. He participated in group exhibitions at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Malmö Konstmuseum; Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm; The National Museum of Modern Art Kyoto; Bildmuseet Umeå; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, amongst others. Recent exhibition designs include Malmö Konsthall; Azkuna Zentroa Bilbao; Tate Liverpool; M HKA, Antwerp; Nottingham Contemporary. In 2020 Frei will have a survey show at the Malmö Konsthall. Current group exhibitions are on view at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead; Malmö Konstmuseum; and Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.
Press release courtesy Barbara Wien.