2.500 meters of golden elastic threads
Santiago / Chile
Notwithstanding the fact that Mahaluf professes such a radical confidence in the expressive possibilities of the visual arts, that in his work he intends to point out logical solutions to optical or spatial problems, he must accept that the viewer’s reaction uncovers a fundamental ambiguity.
Even though some of his installations attempt to reveal the inconsistencies and contradictions of certain cultural policies, or the mercantile dimension of art itself, Mahaluf cannot but acknowledge that, after all, he enjoys seducing the viewer. And his only means is to accept the influx of invisible and subterranean processes in his work, and the importance of that which is only apparently haphazard.
He is not obsessed by technique, or delayed by the creation of effects or illusions, and quite often is the first one to be surprised by a result he was pursuing unawares.
This installation required extremely thorough measurement and calculation, so as to ensure precise physical interventions in the architecture of the room. Seven planes or layers of golden elastic bands stretched from wall to wall forming a weft, generate in the center what seems to be an empty circle, or, seen tri-dimensionally, a cylinder. Artificial illumination, diffused by means of the golden color of the bands, is also an indispensable material for the artist’s solution.
But there’s no deception in Circle. The ambiguity is not generated by an illusion or trompe l’oeil. It is the unexpected result of the interaction of the materials, rather than a consequence of the spectator’s point of view. The author’s rationalist temperament seems to limit him to minutely calculating distances, surfaces, volumes. That is, quantities. Nevertheless, art always demands readiness for the unexpected.
On one hand, there’s a hidden geometry in the room, which escapes the naked eye, and possible wasn’t even explicit in the architect’s original plan. Something irresistibly beckons the viewer to approach the center of the room, while he never stops looking upwards, until he finally sees that which the artist has proposed. But then the ambiguity of Circle takes over, because especially when receiving the ever changing illumination of day, the zenithal position of this work, against a flat, tessellated skylight, presents us with a cruciform figure in the background: perhaps an unplanned mystical effect...
In the final analysis, it seems that the rather classical architectonical value of this intervention the visual and intellectual delight we derive from it- calls for a greater permanence of works such as Mahaluf’s.