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Three Heaps of Coal Sifted

Jose Arnaud-Bello, What Lies between a Point on a Sheet of Paper and Other Points on Other Papers, 2008. View of the studio at Gasworks.

Jose Arnaud-Bello, Half the light reflected by a wall, 2008. View of the studio at Gasworks

José Arnaud-Bello’s practice often focuses on the transitions it produces: of text to volume, of concept to matter or of documents to stories. He realises interventions which are devised from a sustained period of research into the specifics of an environment, varying from the informal appropriation of public space in Mexico City to the speculative history of the ruins left from a discotheque in Corsica. Other, more studio based works comment on specific occurrences referencing the history of Conceptual art.

An example is Recursive Tautologies (2008), a series of works positioned between notions of concept and matter. In this series ‘A Heap of Coal Sifted’ becomes both the media and the description of the work, allowing for a recursive relationship between the definition of the work and its execution.

The site of an abandoned discotheque in Corsica prompted a series of investigations and speculations. After the Fact (2008) is an attempt to reconstruct the building to its original state taking into account the various speculations about its destruction. This approach led Arnaud Bello to produce a series of drawings that look at a how the structure might have been, also imagining a different present and future for it.

The video work Triunfo marrón, Otra vida sin domingos (2007), a collaboration with Sebastián Cordova, is a story told with photographic stills which present a trajectory of ‘Condominio Insurgentes’, a semi-abandoned 16-storey building in Mexico City. Narrated through subtitles, the video recounts uncanny and sometimes disconnected events occurring in the building. As the viewer is guided upwards, floor by floor, a sense of tension develops culminating in a sinister top floor. While presenting a fictional and yet not implausible history of how the building came to be, Triunfo marrón, Otra vida sin domingos points towards modernist architecture’s conflictual relationship to context. 

During his residency at Gasworks, Arnaud-Bello explored the physical qualities of the studio space, observing and intervening the established relationship between external natural conditions and internal adaptations of the place.

Jose Arnaud-Bello was born in Oaxaca, Mexico in 1976. He studied architecture at the Universidad Iberoamericana and Landscape Urbanism at the Architectural Association. Recent exhibitions include: Pavillion 7 (Palais de Tokyo, Paris), Cross Country: An exploration into Rural Public Space (Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire), ((( ))) (Transpalette, Bourges), Hacia/Desde Mexico DF (Instituto Cervantes, Stockholm).