In a recent traveling solo exhibition titled Grounds for Standing and Understanding, Vancouver-based artist Babak Golkar has used the design elements of the intricate patterns of a Persian carpet as a foundation to literally “drawn up” and transform into three-dimensional scale models that resemble architectural mega-towers. These sculptural forms recal some early modernist
architectural styles such as Brutalism, Russian Constructivism and Art Deco, as well as, referencing buildings recently constructed in parts of the Middle East. The recognized pattern represents a blueprint for the imaginary urban composition, depicting a template for additional walls to the existing gallery space. While the scaled architectural models are extruded from the tracings of
the carpet’s pattern, the extended built walls in the gallery are sections of the architectural models magnified twenty-five times in scale. The result is an installation that produces a critique of the ideologies underpinning architecture while questioning the effectual use of the space, probing spatial problems that encourage bodily engagement on the part of the viewer.
Here is an excerpt from Jason Starnes’s essay, Usurping the Big Other: Understanding Symbolic Space, for the catalogue:
“The forms that rise like three dimensional expressions of the carpet are both complemented and complicated by scaled-up segments of his imaginary building, generating a body-space relationship closer to street-view on the scale continuum. Without their incorporation in a building, these architectural elements pulled from their context recall Robert Morris’s “Untitled (three L beams)” (1965). Golkar’s elements pose spatial problems in terms of function and scale: function, in that they appear to have a purpose, but no ready use; scale, in that the sharp-eyed viewer will recognize these architectural elements from the miniature building complexes that rise out of the nearby Persian carpets. As they partially enclose and divide space from space in complex patterns, these building fragments also resonate with Richard Serra’s sculptural interventions in public space, with their bewildering effect on the locomotion of those who travel through the space.
Here the collision between miniature-scale towers that one can walk among while looking down at their details, and bodily-scaled portions of those models creates a feeling of vertigo by enhancing the implied magnitude of the models and creating the sensation that the viewer has been shrunk to fit into the carpetgenerated forms. These contradictory feelings show the flaw in our perceptual systems that can so easily be misled by the imagination: human bodies appear to us as a universal standard of scale, but the scale-fluidity of Golkar’s work produces a vertigo of relative sizes….”