Walking into the quirky hyper-dimensional space of Tamara Gayer's cityscapes can literally throw you into a psychosomatic seizure. It isn't just the scope and magnitude of the work that mock any conceivable cognitive horizon, or the warped perspective, or the suggestions of order and clarity that fade in and out of existence, it isn't even the candy store colors and patterns--it's the feeling that you are in fact, literally elsewhere. Then you are left with three options: keel over, feel sick or surrender.
Whether beckoned into her installations with their veering angles, kinetic depths of field and sloping plains, or into the 3D duratrans prints housed in light boxes with their kaleidoscopic feats of proximity and alienation, either way the spectator is invited undergo an experience. For there is nothing else but consciousness: A void that slips and twirls between vertical and horizontal parameters, a depth that is never quite definable: is it deep surface? Is it a tesseract disguised as a Klein bottle? Is it comedy?
There are only cityscapes here. You, the observer, being the only human subject of the entire event--are forced to address your subjectivity. It is precisely the two dimensionality, the symmetrically soothing quality of an image, that forces the subject to say 'I am'. But what happens to this orderly geometry, to this 'good object' of Gestalt psychology when it is turned into a frenzied and anisotropic experience? The 'what is' opens up. What if it was so? What if failed utopias did not fail? What if we could live in line with the values of urban planning as they dreamed themselves to be? What if childhood wasn't over?
The coexistence of humor and longing in these cityscapes turns into a walk through wonderland, a journey in space and time. We play. We give in to this obscene choreography of color, this geometric opening up to probability, this invitation to be ventrally and peripherally sighted, to be anything: dextral, sinister, myopic, to dissociate space into nothing short of an optical crisis. But we also go to the time of potentiality-- that which is not yet, or no longer, or once again--the time of what if.
And it is also a game. A toy. A candy. A space for playfully gift-wrapped flirtations, a catalytic kinetic tantrum that demands other ways of seeing/being. Everything--the house, the housing project, the city--dissolves, haunted with desire for its own potential. It is not coincidental, therefore, that Gayer's subject is the urban land-scape, and in particular, its failed, feigned and stretched utopias. For even between Aristotle's potentiality and dynamos there is a space for failure: the potential for something to be is always also its potential not to be.
In Tamara Gayer's work some failure is necessary. Whether it is the failure of modernist utopias, the failure to go back and see like a child, or like an evolved human, the failure of the observer's ability to say "I am"--failure is necessary before the new can shine forth. Her designs become a contingency of an elsewhere in which contradictions can coexist, where they fit a social stratagem that takes the human into consideration. At the core of this incongruity, is Gayer's extreme a-historicism of her objects; a prioritizing of "space", while communicating a sense of order and rationality to society and to man as an individual. That which remains possible, draws on the principles of the ideal city. Yet for any ideal to move from potentiality to actuality, it must go through a process of mourning. As happy as an Irish wake. So finally, there emerges a deep sense of longing in this work, and a sadness. Not only for what is not or no longer is but for the plain, gray and unwanted to once again be loved.
This body of work is a toy that makes laughing and crying sounds. It cries for having lost the intimate, the personal, the human and the beautiful but it laughs at the tyranny of Euclidian fields. Utopia is ha which still smiles from the tapering corners, from the empty rhombs and from the gaps between.
- Shlomzion Kenan 2007
Visit Tamara Gayer's website here