Ricardo Alcaide’s (Venezuela, 1967) project is motivated by the ambiguous character of the gallery’s patio, that despite being freely accessible, it is rarely used by passersby. The artist believes that this is due to some sort of immaterial barrier that results from its own architectural configuration. Something that is recurrent in our experience of the city, where semi-public and public spaces are increasingly configured as privatized or immaterially “fenced”.
In order to problematize this question, Alcaide designs a large black volume that occupies the entire patio of the gallery, nullifying this external space and almost entirely blocking the two entrances to the building. For its construction he choses a wood that is commonly used in building as a framework for molds of in situ concrete. Due to the obstruction of the normal access into the building, the artist creates a second wooden structure on the opposite facade, signaling a new entrance through a door that is customarily closed. This new access refers to the original entry of the gallery’s first building (a project by Mendes da Rocha), demolished in 2011 to make way for its reoriented and retrofitted replica, the structure that exists today.
Through the occupation and almost obliteration of a (semi)public space and the subsequent adaptation of the gallery’s entrance route, Alcaide induces a reexamination of the visitor’s physical relationship with the building and subverts the normal functioning of the institution.