André Komatsu

2012 FutureGreat, selected by Ishmael Randall Weeks

By Ishmael Randall Weeks

André Komatsu, Desvio de Poder 1, 2011. Photo: André Komatsu. Courtesy the artist

I first met André Komatsu in his home city of São Paulo while he was installing his show Quando Ramos São Subtraídos (When Branches Are Subtracted) at Galeria Vermelho in 2007. In that exhibition he mixed elements of urban architectural debris – fragile wall fragments holding meticulous drawings and carved-out words – with small models and direct interventions on the walls of the gallery. In one instance Komatsu ran a cut with a circular saw directly into the drywall from the gallery entrance to the middle of the space. It seemed the saw had run dead and had been left there, as if Komatsu’s sudden burst of destructive inspiration had faded or been stopped.

I found myself instantly enthused by and immersed in his poetics of the postreadymade; he has a methodical intimacy mixed with a spontaneous, and often dark, energy. He transforms architectural detritus into a prime material in order to contemplate the destructive elements that are ushered in by the conventions of social inequality.

More recent works, such as AK-47 (2008) and Sem Titulo (Tumor) (2010), follow a similar logic, but seem more concise. They deal directly with physical and societal divisions and erosions and demonstrate a need to occupy the urban context within the gallery, disarticulating it to create new meanings and incidences in the perception of the social space. It is in this displacement between creative energy and entropy that the true beauty in Komatsu’s work lies.

This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue.