GRAVITY IS A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
STEEL, GLASS, WOOD, MIXED MEDIA
MASS MOCA, NORTH ADAMS, MA
Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle’s project Gravity Is a Force to be Reckoned With is based upon Mies van der Rohe’s uncompleted project, the House with Four Columns (1951), a square structure open to view on all four sides through glass walls. In Manglano-Ovalle’s work, the house was constructed at approximately half scale and inverted, the ceiling of the original becoming the sculpture’s floor, the floor becoming the ceiling, and all interior elements such as Mies-designed furniture and partition walls installed upside down.
Within the sterile, modernist space, a small narrative is evident. Miraculously suspended from above, two empty chairs flank a café table on which apparently had rested a coffee cup and saucer, which has fallen from the table to the (actual) floor of the sculpture. This cup is shattered and has spilled its contents. Above the broken cup, a cell phone sits precariously on the edge of the café table. Its screen displays a relentless series of video messages that go unanswered by the anonymous and absent occupant of the glass house. As the unrequited callers grow increasingly frustrated we are left to piece a story line with only the (anti) gravitational consequence of a sudden occurrence.