Andrew KudlessAmerican (New Jersey, 1975)
MATSYS(San Francisco, California, Established 2004)
P_Wall was commissioned by SFMOMA for the 2009 exhibition Sensate: Bodies and Design, which presented objects that reflect expanded notions of the body. Kudless's piece marks an acute reinvention of the gallery it occupies: the white, smooth, planar, and, by convention, neutral wall has shed its secondary status to become a protagonist in the space it lines. Made by hand in Kudless's studio, the 150 tiles that make up the wall were individually formed by pouring plaster over an elastic fabric that was stretched across wooden dowels.
P_Wall is fully contemporary in its effort to capture dynamic, complex forces in static form; its origins, however, may be found in the experiments of 20th-century architects such as Antoni Gaudí and Miguel Fisac, both of whom investigated the potential of cast material to yield unique, sensual, and occasionally bizarre shapes. P_Wall possesses an unmistakable corporeal quality. Bulges and folds, crevices and pockmarks, creases and cracks are among the abject characteristics of human flesh that come to the fore. In effect, Kudless has replaced the smooth gallery wall with a new skin that approximates the unwieldy, entropic enclosure that we, as human beings, inhabit throughout the course of our lives.