The Neutra VDL Studio and Residences hosts The Cost of Money, an installation by its 2019 Artist-in-Residence Mark Cottle.
A meditation on the steep human and environmental expense resulting from our transactional society, the installation consists of three tapestries – each measuring about 9 feet – fashioned from plastic bag and twine, suspended at three key locations in the house. Each plastic bag symbolizes a transaction, a cluster of interactions, the tangible residue of goods consumed. Sometimes the bags are folded, stored, and brought back for another round of purchases. More often, however, they are thrown away. They have, in fact, come to signify a culture of disposability.
In the VDL House, two visions of modern domesticity co-inhabit: the original 1930s version of the house, and the 1960s post-fire iteration. While the two share an interest in layered and nested spaces, in planarity, and in blurring distinctions between inside and outside, the first version's strict modularity and abstract formal rigor lives in tension with the robust material textures and colors of the second.
Cottle is interested in this tension, an internal conflict one can find in the writings of Gottfried Semper, who notably proposed that the first enclosures were wickerwork, weaving, and tapestries – making a cultural argument for the persistence of forms related to past materials and craft procedures, even when technologies have shifted. At the same time, Semper remarked that the thickness of a wall doesn't matter, only its surface, because the surface is what defines space.
It's here that Cottle finds the opportunity interact with this doubled vision by installing three tapestries. The first, in the courtyard/garden, adds another lamination, floating just in front of the stone veneer cladding. The second, at the stair/bridge, hangs in the gap. The third, in the salon, is a free plane, dividing dining and seating areas. All three are attached to existing drapery tracks and participate in the spatial logic already established in the house.
The geometry of the tapestries derive from an abiding interest in Islamic tile patterns, in particular those enriching the walls of the Alhambra, while the textures and colors reference the immediate landscape: paving stones and ground cover, clouds seen through branches, reflections on the water.
Mark Cottle: "The Cost of Money"
Opening Reception: Saturday, Oct. 12 | 6-10 p.m.
Press Preview: Saturday, Oct. 12 | 4-5 p.m.
Exhibition Dates: Oct. 12 - Nov. 23
Since 2019, the VDL House has hosted an artist-in-residence. Artists live at the house and create an original in-situ installation that is on display for a period of one to two months. Prior installations were created by Santiago Borja (2010), Xavier Veilhan (2012), Bryony Roberts (2013), Competing Utopias with the Wende Museum (2014), Luis Callejas (2015), Les FrÃ¨res Chapuisat (2016), Tu casa es mi casa - Frida Escobedo, Pedro y Juana, Tezontle (2017), and BLESS (2018).
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Cottle studied English literature and music composition at Clemson University, architecture and painting at Rice University, and theory and criticism at Harvard University. He is the recipient of numerous design awards, including the Steedman Fellowship in Architecture and the Dinkeloo Fellowship to the American Academy in Rome. His artwork has been exhibited regularly and may be found in the permanent collections of Rice University and the Atlanta High Museum of Art, among others. He is currently an associate professor at the School of Architecture in the Georgia Tech College of Design, where he serves as director of the college's Stubbins Gallery and also directs the school's Architecture Undergraduate International Studio.