Oil on masonite
61.0 x 61.0 Size (cm)
24.0 x 24.0 Size (in)In 'Homage' Magid considers the eschewal of intellectual property rights in favour of sharing. This concept is explored through the mutually respectful relationship between the Bauhaus modernist Josef Albers and Mexico's pre-eminent modernist architect Luis Barragán who were both especially renowned for their use of colour. The title of the exhibition borrows from Albers' famous painting series, Homage to a Square, whilst considering Barragán's particular homage to Albers — his ownership of two unlicensed reproductions of Albers' works. Allegedly bought for just a dollar each from a strip mall in the United States, these cheap reproductions printed on fabric differ substantially from the original oil paintings which they purport to be. Yet it is a commonly held myth that Barragán displayed two original Josef Albers' paintings in his house and photographs depicting one of these reproductions hung above the table in the architect's living room have become iconic. Such was Albers' admiration for Barragán that rather than disapproving he was said to be pleased.
Aided by the precise notes Albers left on the back of his paintings which tell of the colours, brands and condition of each of the paints he used, but thwarted by many of the pigments no longer being in existence, Magid makes her own 'Homages', forging Albers' works according to his own instructions. In so doing, she questions the notions of authorship and originality, whilst entering into the relationship between artist and architect. These 'Homages' will be shown in the company of 'Butaca' chairs which Magid has made through a process of further replication, involving another figure in the exchange of ideas. Butaca are low-sitting sling chairs have existed in Mexico for centuries with different versions existing in different towns. In the '40s, Cuban-born, Mexican-based designer Clara Porset studied these chairs and reintroduced them with ergonomic changes. Porset worked with Barragán who is also attributed a version of the chair, and was friends with Albers, allowing the latter to trace the dimensions of her chair and reproduce it for every dorm room in Black Mountain College — a version that is attributed to Albers. Furthering the logic of this appropriation, Magid presents her own Butaca chair, made by tracing the contours Albers' own traced version. Such a tracing can only be inexact, Magid explains, 'always an attempt at reproduction', homages rather than forgeries.