Particles for the Built World

2019 / Fabric-cast concrete

Particles for the Built World forms the basis of Omer Arbel’s artistic interrogation into the physical properties of concrete: a material that has long held uncompromising notions of solidity, permanence, and strength. The installation, partially performative and partially static, serves as an introspective exploration into the materiality of concrete whilst simultaneously mapping an insight into Arbel’s modes of working. Housed in Surrey Art Gallery, the objects and artefacts are remnants of Omer’s challenging of the capacity for concrete to retain elements of its native state; liquid

The installation is formed of several elements which, together, realign the viewers’ perception of concrete. It also seeks to build a vision of Arbel’s approach to experimenting with materials and his innovative approach to design and architecture. In Gallery 1, the centrepiece of the exhibit takes the form of large concrete discs—slices of a larger concrete column cast and created offsite as another component of the installation. A video accompanies this section of the exhibit, providing documentation and context for the process of creation. The walls are adorned with portraits of objects—products of endless studies into materials such as glass and copper mesh—in the form of Bocci lighting pieces, which is another well-known component of Arbel’s creative practice.

The exhibition commences with the slow process of filling a full-scale fabric cast mould, built in a warehouse in Vancouver. Left to cure for 29 days, the column is available to view by appointment – a polarising display of the immense power of concrete in tandem with the delicate fabric form it’s been poured into. Following this, the formwork is stripped during another performative public exhibition – with the column sliced with diamond rope into thin disc shapes before installation in Surrey.

Omer Arbel presents experiments with concrete at Particles for the Built World exhibition.

Particles for a Built World concludes in Gallery 2, in which the discovery of the fabric forming process is discussed as a part of a real architecture project currently under construction in South Surrey. This space deliberates how Arbel’s work—a mixture of design, art, and material experimentation, has the ability to transcend into the realms of architectural application. As is the case with much of the work created by Omer Arbel Office, Particles for the Built World questions ideas of duality, intersection, and process. Stark monolithic structures contrasted with elegant beauty; solidity colliding with fluidity. The nature of the exhibit demands attention to the process of creation— perhaps most notably marked by the dissection of the concrete column. The anatomy reveals unpredictability, experimentation, and a beauty in the processes of conception over the final outcome. By facilitating how two materials interact, Arbel relinquishes a measure of control. However, it is without the enacting of external forces that allow materials to show their true beauty.

Exhibition: April 13, 2019 to June 16, 2019
Venue: Surrey Art Gallery

For further information please visit:
The Surrey Art Gallery website