Rice Gallery, on the campus of Rice University, invites artists and architects to create site-specific installations in their simple and well-proportioned space. Currently, the Swedish artist Gunilla Klingberg explores her interests in everyday consumerism and Eastern spirituality by focusing on the gallery floor plane with an intricate and compelling pattern made of supermarket, fast food, big box store and common household logos in an ornate form that recalls a sacred mandala.
Klingberg’s beautifully complex mandala is forceful; it pushes through the limits of the front gallery glass wall, into the foyer, and up the exterior façade, blurring the separations of architectural space and, at the same time, defining its limits. As Klingberg explains, “My intention is to make a work for Rice Gallery that invades the space in an almost viral way. The symbols and patterns in this mandala transform into an image of how our daily rhythm of commonplace doings blends with advertising and enters deep into our lives, homes and minds. The logos are a link between our public and private spheres, maybe even to the collective unconscious.”
The traditional mandala, with its circular plan representing the cosmos and its cycles, finds new meaning in Klingberg’s composition. Everyday logos and symbols (Texaco, Whataburger, Fiesta!) that seem mundane in their typical marketing mode are skillfully combined into a vibrant black and white version of Dorothy’s yellow brick road. Klingberg asks us to reconsider the ordinary and allows us to see the lyrical and vibrant patterns that emerge from the familiar. Through careful reconfiguration and repetition, the whole becomes so much more than the parts.
Last updated: March 11, 2013