Born 1940, died in Berlin, Germany (2021)
El Salto 2016
scaffolding, pump, hose, water, children’s plastic pool, artificial grass, wood
400 cm x 570 cm x 300 cm
Courtesy of the artist’s estate and Michel Rein, Paris/Brussels
Combining scaffolding, artificial grass and a plastic wading pool, El Salto recreates the view of a waterfall from the house where Durham and artist Maria Thereza Alves lived from 1987 to 1994 in the El Salto de San Anton neighbourhood of Cuernavaca in Mexico. The perspective of the scaffolding evokes a wider view, like that from atop the 40-metre tall waterfall overlooking vegetation and basalt rocks near the artist’s home: ‘When you’re up above normal things in a city, you get a funny feeling. It’s not like looking out a building’s window; it’s a little more freedom. It’s a safe freedom for me.’
Ordinary objects often have much beauty: not only the beauty from their use but also an aesthetic beauty we often ignore. These kinds of objects are not meant to be admired.
I like to make things and am suspicious of simply pointing to existing things, of acting as if I were more sensitive than other people.
I wanted to make a small waterfall on a scaffolding. I have done several works using these ubiquitous temporary structures and always want to do more.
– Jimmie Durham
Jimmie Durham’s work is included in Gregarious architectures.