The art scene sometimes allows visitors to enter its hidden bowels. The art lover loves to go to the artist’s studio to see how and where art is made. Not rarely the visitor is in for surprises. The art studio can be tucked away in a small apartment, in a garage where the car has been banned forever or in a repurposed warehouse.
The artists collective that goes by the name FABRIKA7 has only opened its doors twice. A non descriptive door opens to a staircase that leads to three floors of an old Dumbo warehouse. The stale smell of moist coming from the lowest floor might not be the most inviting visiting card for any artist. But the higher you walk up the stairs, the drier the air becomes under an enormous skylight.
It looks as if the artists of FABRIKA7 once entered the building and locked the door behind them to work. Site specific work is sprawling up on every floor and seems or is made with material found on the spot.
The first impression on the lower level is one of chaos. The installation there hits you like heaps of debris shoveled together in apparent randomness. But the found objects and their dust form a landscape of intricate messages of political critique and ‘condition humaine’.
Climbing the stairs, the piles of detritus have been cleared, and in this way, open up space for more rationally approached and recognizable works of art. But in every case, the art is part of the building and inextricably woven within the character of the site itself.
Instead of invading the building and making it into a white canvas for their works, the artists seem to have respected the soul of the warehouse. One of them told me that the place was formerly used for building theatre sets. Keeping this in mind, they have tried to honor the place by staying mere players that respect their stage. The backdrop of the old warehouse seems to be of the same importance as their art. One would maybe not be thinkable without the other.
Some people only go to the Guggenheim because of the building. When you get the chance to enter this artists collective’s temple, you also might be overwhelmed by its beauty ánd ugliness. But don’t forget to look and take in the art, too.
(The artist who took me around on a personal tour, said that FABRIKA7 might again open its door during the Dumbo Art Festival on September 27, 28, 29.)
(FABRIKA7 is located in Water Street, at the corner with Jay Street, in Dumbo, Brooklyn)