Artists Katahrina Stoever and Barbara Wolff make up the collaborative duo which is Peles Empire. They have nothing to do with famous footballers and everything to do with an incredible Romanian castle.
The Peles castle, a palace set amongst the Carpathian Mountains in Sinaia, Romania, is an architectural mash-up of European styles including Orientalism, Art Deco, Rococo and Renaissance. Together the artists work to reproduce the rooms of the castle, inspired by the bonkers ambitions of the original architect and King Carol . Using original photographic documentation of the castle’s interior and artefacts Peles Empire reproduce the palace in newly visceral 2D renderings and 3D relics.
Until 17th March one of these new renderings of the armory room is being exhibited at Cell Project Space in FORMATION. In a pleasingly physical material counter-point, photocopy collages look down upon porcelain and black-grog sculptures. These sculptures – sometimes bubbling with their own compulsion to natural formations, and at other times more carefully crafted – combine the materials of architectural construction and of the purely decorative.
“Two screens of thickly montaged black and white photocopies divide the gallery into three equally sized adjoining chambers, enabling the spaces to be entirely enveloped by a distorted view of the armory room; traces of the castle contents nestle within a field of reprographic noise. In this instance the imagery only touches the edge of its original subject matter giving an impression of parts left to signify a whole.”
The most striking thing about FORMATION is the working through of a process for sculpting and suggesting an absent space. It’s almost a little dizzying to give yourself over to the effect of pasty, granular collage and luxuriously solid sculptures: despite its DIY and ready made aesthetic and the hand-made pixellation of printed ink, the castle does begin to slip into our reach.
Some suggestions are more concrete than others: at the back of the space spearheads are mounted on the white wall, a real tangible gesture towards the armory. At other times decoration and ornamentation are visually distorted, almost liquid, embellishments. This is an incredibly pleasing show, if like me, your easily seduced by the material.