Matej Andraž Vogrinčič ’s Car Park - Members Only A Documentary by Max Dingle
Matej Andraž Vogrinčič, born and raised in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia came to the international art world’s attention with his 1993 installation project Krojač za Hiše (Tailor for Houses) , and his 1996 book that documented this dressing up of a house in a riverside suburb of Ljubljana with found objects including second hand clothes and shoes. All carefully selected and painted, as need be, to create a beautiful second architectural skin on the walls of the house, raising questions of social utility, architectural ornament, design and dressing the human figure. Matej created a second house dressing installation for the 1999 Venice Biennale.
For the 2000 Telstra Adelaide Festival’s visual arts program Matej Andraž Vogrinčič was commissioned by the festival to create a site-specific art work. After some days in Adelaide, looking for a house to ‘dress’, he chose to work with a rather large wall adjacent to a car park in Rosina Street. He was intrigued by signs painted on the wall, “small car” and “members only” and the prevalence of car parks in the area. These car parks were an unfortunate outcome from a 1970’s Council plan to attract people to shopping precincts in the city.
Matej maintained the existing signage, repainted the lower half of the wall a very bright yellow, enlarged the blue and white parking symbol and designated bricks on the upper half of the wall as either roads or car parks (adding as appropriate disabled parking and directional arrows.) He decided that the thousands of “parking spaces”, thus created, should be filled with toy cars, ‘owned’ and donated by the people living in and visiting Adelaide.
A massive publicity campaign went out and slowly, but increasing to a flood, toy cars arrived for the artist to park.
From the car park the completed installation is a riot of colour and almost abstract from a distance. Closer, looking up the vertical car park is at once, a reasonably realistic car park as well as a dizzying vision, like vertigo.
Car Park – Members Only is a critique of the culture of the car, a comment on city planning, a new way of looking - miniatures of large objects, cars, creating something enormous and a humorous blurring of art and reality.
Personal Notes In 2000 I parked my (matchbox) car and as happens to a lot of people in very large car parks when you go to find your car, it was an almost impossible task - despite the binoculars made available to Festival visitors. I revisited Rosina Street in March 2011, Car Park is still there looking slightly worse for wear, some of the cars are rusty and a few have disappeared, but still a great sight. Though it was interesting to note that most people walking past did not notice the art, until they looked up at what I photographing, this immediately started conversations. Half an hour later some of these people returned with their own cameras.
A SHOALHAVEN CITY ARTS CENTRE EXHIBITION
Acknowledgements: Photographs from the M G Dingle and G B Hughes Collection, a bequest to the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery Collection.
Car Park - interactive art work Max Dingle Curator Max Dingle