Brazilian artist Regina Silveira (b. 1939) creates mind-bending temporary interventions that have an almost surreal flare that alter our perceptions of our physical environment. Ranging from shadows cast on a wall to footprints or large-scale insects taking over buildings, city streets, and public parks around the world, Silveira has become known for her installations of “magnetized space” which examine the ways superimposed images change the meaning of an existing architecture or space. Some of her installations have the appearance of occupations, infestations, or supernatural visitations; others seem to be fantastical apparitions that suspend the laws of nature and perception.
Octopus Wrap entangles the Olympic Sculpture Park’s PACCAR Pavilion in an elaborate pattern of tire tracks, taking off from five toy motorcycles positioned on the interior mural wall. Silveira’s latest architectural installation draws inspiration from the park’s location at the intersection of several busy thoroughfares. As you approach and enter the building, you are observing their progress via their intersecting tire tracks. When seen from a distance, the undulating tracks create another, larger image, one that ensnares the architecture as if within the arms of an octopus. The installation will be temporary, but the new images and sensations it creates will enter our memory and form a lasting imprint of a different kind.
For the artist, a political element of these ruptures resides in their assault on our perception or, in her words, “in the level of transformation that can be brought about by grafting something into a given space in a way that magically changes its relationship to the real.” Her aim is estrangement from the familiar, and her preferred tactic is surprise. Beyond a heightened sensory experience within a newly defined space, Silveira’s mode of intervention can also be understood in social and political terms.