Collaborator is the first solo museum exhibition of Los Angeles-based artist Oscar Tuazon (b. 1975, Seattle, Washington) to take place in his native Pacific Northwest. The exhibition surveys both new and existing works from the past fifteen years that explore the pivotal role collaboration plays in his practice. In occupying and activating the gaps between sculpture and architecture, private and public space, and performance and activism, Tuazon restlessly pushes boundaries, exposing the limits of disciplinary divides.
With confluent roots in conceptualism, vernacular architecture, and his own roughhewn brand of minimalism, Tuazon often works with steel, glass, and concrete as well as two-by-fours, tree trunks, found objects, and existing cultural fragments. The result is an immersive, sensorial relationship with both site and viewer that encourages audience interaction and inquiry. As the scale and intensity of his do-it-yourself aesthetic overturns the spatial conditions of viewing, sculpture becomes both a tense to inhabit and a series of gestures that can appear to be in motion, still unfolding.
In Oscar Tuazon: Collaborator, past bodies of work are revisited and accompanied by new sculptures and site-responsive interventions that respond, in part, to the porous, light-filled nature of architect Steven Holl’s design for BAM’s third floor galleries. The exhibition pivots around an immersive post-and-beam installation that will infiltrate the entire exhibition space; by revisiting and reimagining an installation that dramatically overtook the galleries of Kunsthalle Bern and ICA London in 2010, the commission will impose an entirely new choreography and interactive gallery experience. Interconnected and geometric, the raw sequencing of Tuazon’s untitled wood structures destabilizes perception and attention away from the overall architecture and toward the precarious and immediate—a central dynamic within Tuazon’s work and the backdrop for considering a wide range of past collaborations.
Tuazon has previously said of his approach: “I do much of my work on-site and that usually means I don’t have a lot of time or a lot of control over exactly what materials are available. I use what’s there. I use what’s expedient, whatever I can afford. Each solution for a problem has particular properties and those properties are always interesting to me. I let them dictate the work. I like that thinking process because it incorporates considerations of time and economy. I like thinking under duress.” Resonating with and ricocheting off BAM’s exhibition space, Tuazon’s engagement with serial collaboration will span many projects, from past works with his brother and fellow artist Elias Hansen, to a sound work made with conceptual sculptor and architect Vito Acconci, to recent assemblage works made in concert with poet Ariana Reines. Oscar Tuazon: Collaborator looks to the playful, shapeshifting nature of Tuazon’s collaborations and how such efforts challenge and revitalize his larger sculptural practice.