German artist Angela Glajcar is the twelfth artist to be featured in MOCA Jacksonville’s Project Atrium series. Her signature, large-scale paper floating sculpture was commissioned specifically for MOCA Jacksonville’s towering Atrium Gallery. On view until June 28th, this is Glajcar’s second largest sculpture in the United States and, taking advantage of the verticality of MOCA’s atrium, the first that she has ever created by stacking her oversized paper forms.
Arguably best known for her staggering installations of hand-torn sheets of heavy white paper, Glajcar insists that air, light, and movement are the most crucial elements within her astonishing creations. Juxtaposing the weightless and ethereal with the solid and substantial, Glajcar creates seemingly delicate and fragile hanging forms, which command a strong sculptural presence. Light and shadow play against the torn edges or openings to create layered, three-dimensional caves. In ripping and perforating a material that is traditionally a two-dimensional object, Glajcar gives her paper a strong sculptural presence. “I am interested in opposites,” Glajcar says, “it is always a matter of lightness and heaviness – interior and exterior space – bright and dark…a sheet is two-dimensional, but with many sheets, I can work with the whole room and achieve an entirely new meaning and effect.”
At MOCA, the skylight ceiling over the massive atrium means that the installation is hanging in a room lit by both natural and artificial light, where the conditions are constantly changing according to the weather and time of day. This open space and play of light were at the forefront of Glajcar’s mind as she conceived her site-specific sculpture. The sheets of pure white paper can’t help but perfectly compliment the featured WHITE exhibit neighboring on the third floor, but Glajcar doesn’t believe the color truly exists within her work. “Nothing is white,” she says. “I just use the color of the light. In the morning it’s a cool blue; in the afternoon it’s warm yellow. The front sheets are always the color of the walls.”
While this ever-changing light does play a key role in how the sculpture may be perceived at any given time, it is also the shadows of the torn edges falling on the adjacent sheets that enliven the interior of each curving structure. Many of the sheets exhibit tears or appear incomplete, and large holes have also been torn in the middle of the suspended papers. The bottom form’s internal cavity isn’t revealed at all until you view it from the second level of the museum, and from there you must go to the third level to fully take in the top structure. “Movement was always important for me. The installation isn’t complete without the spectator’s movement, and the shape invites us to move.” Glajcar encourages the viewer to take in her work from all angles, even if it means lying on the floor underneath it and gazing in between various sheets and shadows. However, no matter what the vantage point, it is never possible to look straight through the suggested caves within either form, because the holes are positioned in such a way that they stretch only into the unknown.
Even so, the staggered outlines that form these cavities seem to offer surprising views and insights. “My way of working on the material, the tearing, on the one hand opens the interior to the visible, and on the other hand, the tearing out creates new interior spaces,” says Glajcar. In this way, her paper installations explore the way space is experienced. Finely tuned states of equilibrium of lightness and heaviness, materialness and immaterialness, are intended to create an illusion of movement and evoke an emotional reaction in the viewer. It is these reactions that bring the artist the most joy, as she eagerly asks viewers what they see when they view her work. She refuses to offer any answers of her own, rather focusing on the endless possibilities of interpretation that we must each experience for ourselves.
The Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 333 North Laura Street, Jacksonville. For exhibition hours, visit www.mocajacksonville.org.