Kavanaugh and Nguyen designed the Hubris Atë Nemesis installation for the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA), taking cues from the from the rough waters and wind in Maine.
Long, timber strips are layered across the floor and up the ceiling to fill the open-plan gallery space, with crests curling over entrances to other parts of the contemporary art gallery.
“The subject matter is borrowed from Maine’s rugged coastal landscape and the tradition of artists who have explored the interplay of its natural forces, people and built environment,” the designers told Dezeen.
Visitors can traverse over the wave-like design via a pair of wooden pathways that intersect in the middle of the space. They walkways are formed from boards that are arranged to gradually come apart.
“The path contributes to the experience of the work as a whole,” Kavanaugh and Nguyen said. “The viewer is made aware of the movement of the artwork through their own movement over the undulating boardwalk.”
“By unifying this relationship between the ‘path’ and the ‘piece,’ the viewer is completely immersed in the work, removing the layer of separation between art and viewer,” the designers added.
The cohesion of the all wooden Hubris Atë Nemesis causes the design, and the path that stretches across it, to fuse together as one experience.
Kavanaugh and Nguyen have worked together for more than a decade, specialising in work that experiments with materials. They were selected as the first recipients of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art’s fellowship award to create the installation.
The project’s name, Hubris Atë Nemesis, is a collection of three words found in Greek tragedies. Hubris describes arrogant confidence, which transforms to Atë, a ruinous folly or madness, then onto Nemesis, a force of retribution that resets the natural order.
These different elements fuse together in the installation itself, as a reference to the natural environment.
“Like many paintings of the Maine coast, we hope this work captures a moment of suspense in a dynamic system – a snapshot with an uncertain future – and that it appears to be unwritten what the restored natural order should or might become,” the designers said.
Hubris Atë Nemesis shares similarities with a wood-stripped cocoon designed by students from London’s Architectural Association in Dorset, England.
Other designs featuring an abundance of wood are a ribbon-like installation by Sebastian Cox and Laura Ellen Bacon, a climbing structure by Kengo Kuma in Paris, a hollow pathway design by Thilo Frank, woven hut within a Mumbai office and a rodded volume in Genoa evocative of sails.
Hubris Atë Nemesis is open to the public at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) in Rockland, Maine from 23 March to 16 June 2019.
Lead designers: Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B Nguyen
Team: Julia Raite, James Chute, Olivia Vanner, Ellery Chalmers, Cody Stack, Henry Austin, Sarah Southam, Victor Salvo, Bethany Engstrom, Justine Kablack, Sam Vail
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Author: Bridget Cogley