Nora Schultz’s “Rug Import”

Anna Gritz

March 18, 2013
Campoli Presti, London
February 27–March 28, 2013

Hovering somewhere between a mini-golf course and a rug emporium, Nora Schultz’s solo exhibition at Campoli Presti is a peculiar presentation. It is a quiet show, filled with careful arrangements of office carpets and rubber mats, partially hung from strings and paired with found objects. The space serves at once as showroom, production plant, parcour, and storage unit. Despite the apparent order there is the suggestion of disturbance, as if the works were caught in flagrante, interrupted in the act of producing themselves—something they will surely continue to do so just as soon as one turns one’s back.

The works are suspended in treatments, folded, layered, cut apart, dipped into paint, and even imprinted onto one another, doubling both as stencil and canvas. They occupy an interesting middle ground between artwork, material, and medium—apparatus and outcome. Schultz’s artworks are inclusive production sites, vertically integrated scenarios incorporating setting, media, and production method. For this show, the artist succeeds through taking herself out of the equation, that is, the performative stunts for which Schultz is known for are missing. She appears here rather as an invisible engineer who has orchestrated the infrastructure that allows the materials (forgive me) to produce themselves. Knowing her materials well she is able to work with their intrinsic agency, an inner drive to fulfill their inscribed material destiny. A good example is the work Untitled (grey body figure) (all works 2013), a narrow piece of grey office carpet. It lies on the ground like a severed ouroboros, whose end has folded onto itself to create a tray-shaped cavity. The transformation, though, seems predestined; the change in shape appears to come from the material itself.

Schultz’s printing processes are reminiscent of Brion Gysin’s print roller poems: more linguistic fragments than language, more guttural utterances than words. Her Rug Memory Prints series result from a random pattern that has been cut into a thin black rubber mat. The mat is then painted and transferred via a simple contact print onto large sheets of paper. Next to the prints Schultz also exhibits the mat itself, entitled Rug Memory Printer, which lies on the ground next to the paper sheets as a remnant of the printing process and the tool to produce more—more Rug Memory Prints, that is. The scarce use of paint makes the prints come across more like a half-developed photograph, stuck between appearing and fading, and similar to a recent memory that can only be affirmed through continuous repetition.

Works like City Sound of Rug posit functionality and purpose above all aesthetical concerns. Two bulbous foam-mat fragments are suspended from elastics ropes. They’ve been dipped into different colors and impressed upon the underlying muted steel blue carpet, leaving an indelible mark, a history. Like a workbench or assembly line segment one could easily imagine the causality, the chain of events.

Cut up, dip dyed, moved, reused, rearranged, Schulz’s material palate relies on a substantial library of materials. Although changed through context, her sources retain the connotations of their former circumstance. Hers is an intuitive form of working with materials, an innovate spin on the old mantra that form follows function.

Installation, Sculpture

Anna Gritz is a curator and writer based in London. She is associate curator at the South London Gallery.

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Campoli Presti
March 18, 2013

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