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LOT–EK: Stack / Cut

Lecture: Tuesday November 5th at 5:30pm Design Building 170

Reception: Tuesday November 5th at 6:30pm

STACK / CUT is an ambitious exhibition of recent artworks exploring the shape-shifting geometries of shipping (and other) containers by LOT-EK (Ada Tolla & Giuseppe Lignano), the duo of New York- based artists-architects. “STACK / CUT is a project to inventory and to exhaust all the possible configurations to form volume and space out of shipping containers,” LOT-EK declares. “Part discovery, part reflection, this exhibition aims to investigate and record all variations within given parameters, creating an inventory of volumes and spaces.”

This exhibition marks the 25th anniversary of LOT-EK’s creative engagement with the corrugated metal shipping container, the standard industrial form (40 x 8 ft.) used for transporting commerce internationally. (Their first work to use a shipping container dates from 1994, not long after the duo arrived in New York from Naples, Italy.) The installation includes work about, and in the form of, shipping containers in mixed media, including upcycled, laser-cut cardboard boxes; wall painting; sculpture; videos about shipping containers. All focus on a universe of shifting  volumes.

LOT-EK’s system in STACK / CUT employs two verbs: to stack and to cut. Layers or “additions” are stacked—for example, as actual and rendered stacks of industrial shipping containers—while actual and rendered “subtractions” / removals are cut from the same. Altogether, works in STACK / CUT are elements of an atlas-like inventory of possibility delimited by a set of given parameters. The geometry of minimalism is cut into or transliterated onto shipping containers—circles, squares, and triangles: alphabets dreaming of potential volumes and spaces.

Building on a technique first deployed in their 2016 exhibition at Alden Projects, twelve works consist of upcycled, flattened shipping boxes (some containing “” markings) re-purposed by LOT-EK as flattened surfaces incised by the artists with laser cut lines, forming surface removals. A large wall painting in black and yellow paint in the middle of the gallery spills over onto the floor, pointing towards an empire of the uncontainable. Two videos, Stack (2019) (30 min.) and Cut (2019) (62 min.) conjure up inventories of altered containers.

This exhibition has been funded by Women for UMass, WFUM