Modular22 is a large-scale installation featuring work from over one hundred artists, designers, and architects from Berwyn, Chicago, all over the country, and overseas. Arranged on a 27′ x 8′ modular geometric framework designed by 22’s director Jessica Calek, Modular22 acts as monument, meeting place, display infrastructure, and sculptural installation.
Since 22 is a studio and gallery run by two people with design backgrounds, the projects and exhibits we’ve organized at 22 have tried to blur the line between art and design wherever possible. Modular22 is our largest attempt to do so, integrating elements of art and design in one single project. The basic idea of Modular22 is to bring the display infrastructure of a gallery to the foreground, treating it as being just as important as the artwork it’s used to display. In this way, we can move the work off of the traditional “white cube” walls of a non-specific gallery context.
The structure consists of 360 interlocking 1′ x 2′ wooden panels, and the artwork adorning these panels was created by artists and designers from all over the world. The content of this artwork was left up to the participants, and the only requirement was that the images had to be black and white, in order to lend the entire project a sense of cohesive identity. Some artists, mostly local to the Chicago area, have created work directly on the wooden panels, while others have sent digital files that have been printed and applied to the panels.
As a single structure, its large scale lends the installation a sense of monumentality, yet the fact that it’s made up of a lot of smaller, unique, detailed pieces of artwork gives the project a sense of approachability and intimacy. What’s more, the structure can potentially be disassembled and reassembled in any number of different configurations, speaking to its modular nature and lending it an element of interactivity, as if it were a giant toy construction set.
Modular22 was funded by a Kickstarter campaign, and the wooden panels were laser cut with the generous cooperation of Advanced Laser Cutting Technologies in Grand Rapids, a family-run business that operates one of the only laser-cutting shops dedicated to wood in the United States. The structure was constructed by Calek, Dan Streeting, and Erin McGuire over the summer. We invite you to join us for the opening reception on Saturday, October 13. The exhibit will be on display at the 22 studio until December 22.