Factory Installed, currently on view at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, features the work of six international artists. More than 600 artists responded to an open call and only six where invited to create site-specific installations within the Factory. Selected artists include Pablo Valbuena, Mariana Manhães, Natalia González, Nika Kupyrova, Than Htay Maung, and Veronica Ryanto.
Each of the site-specific installations creates a range of powerful, emotional and psychological experiences. Some of the work is designed to make viewers feel uneasy, disturbed, and fearful while other pieces intend to get the viewer’s blood pumping and mind thinking. The artists encompass a variety of concepts, styles, origins, and materials. Though all the installations appeared innovative, mysterious and a bit enigmatic, two seemed very peculiar to me and I mean that in the best of ways.
Mariana Manhães’s installation, Thesethose, consisted of 2 LCD screens, 2 DVD players, electronic circuits, electric motors, PVC pipes, electric blowers, plastic bags and other materials. Manhães’s created space reminded me of death and life simultaneously as if someone built a hospital in their living room because they knew they were going to die but did not want to leave home to expire. On a monitor the moving image of a window filled the room with a rhythmic creaking that almost sounded like a heartbeat. The plastic bags filled with air and deflated like a riddle. Overall, the atmosphere created a very real experience because I felt something living beside me and it was not human. It existed as a list of supplies, as a machine.
Tucked away on the bottom level I encountered Natalia González’ installation. Blending into its surroundings I did not recognize it as a piece of art until I grabbed a program on the way out the door. However, the space Natalia created entranced me without my recognizing it as a space transformed. The thought that I wandered into prohibited place enthralled me. It looked like a basement with dim lighting and moist air. Although intense, the atmosphere seemed calming. Mirrors and heavy cast shadows created an estranged observation of self and I wondered what I was doing spending time in the basement of the museum.
Factory Installed is an experience that runs until May 1, 2012.
Editor’s Note: Off the room containing Mariana Manhães’s installation and behind two thick black curtains Pablo Valbuena’s video installation waits. Arthopper.org recommends that visitors do not miss it.
Kaitlynn Lane is a student and writer based in Akron, OH. View more articles by Kaitlynn Lane.