Mark Cottle serves as 2019 Artist in Residence at Neutra VDL Research House in Los Angeles

December 2, 2019

Atlanta, GA

This fall, Mark Cottle served as the 2019 Artist in Residence at the Neutra VDL Research House in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.

The iconic modernist house, designed by Richard Neutra in the 1930s to accommodate his office and family, and rebuilt in the 1960s, is now a museum with a program that invites one artist per year to make installations in the house.

Previous artists in residence were Santiago Borja (2010), Xavier Veilhan (2012), Bryony Roberts (2013), Competing Utopias with the Wende Museum (2014), Luis Callejas (2015), Les Frères Chapuisat (2016), Tu casa es mi casa - Frida Escobedo, Pedro y Juana, Tezontle (2017), and BLESS (2018).

Cottle's installation, THE COST OF MONEY, made from recycled plastic shopping bags and twine, is a meditation on the steep human price capital can exact, particularly from the most vulnerable populations, and at enormous expense to the environment.  

Cottle details his installation, stating:

"It was important that the work engage in a respectful yet vigorous dialogue with the architecture.  In the Neutra VDL House ideals and formal gestures of prewar European modernism find a home in Southern California—including the Arcadian notion of the primitive hut—utopian interiors that are, to all intents and purposes, contiguous with the outdoors, a tamed and regained paradise.

Two visions of modern domesticity co-inhabit:  the original 30s version of the house, and the 60s post-fire iteration.  While the two share an interest in layered and nested spaces, in planarity, and in blurring distinctions between inside and outside, the first version's strict modularity and abstract formal rigor lives in tension with the robust material textures and colors of the second.

I was interested in this tension between abstract and material, between spatial and tectonic, and chose to interact with this doubled vision by suspending three tapestries, each approximately nine feet square, at key moments in the house.

The first tapestry, in the courtyard/garden, adds another lamination, floating just in front of the rough stone veneer. The second, at the stair/bridge, hangs in the gap. The third, in the salon, is a free plane, dividing dining and seating areas.

All three are attached to existing drapery tracks and participate in the spatial logic already established in the house.  The patterns and colors reference the immediate landscape:  paving stones and ground cover, clouds seen through branches, reflections on the water."

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