Complex

The initial "Complex" development project was erected in Tokyo in 1991.
Photographs were taken of local construction sites, and then those projected images rephotographed to exaggerate perspective and to generate an active quality. These re-photos were printed as laminated murals  by Fugi Film in Tokyo then were sliced into strips to be velcro'd to the cement block balanced construction. The formation echoed the interior of the Spiral Garden venue, and spoke of a Futurist-style Tower Of Babel ambition. Through use of scale, studio activity is viewed as construction site... architectural model making as installation, architecture as sculpture, and exterior as interior. Navigation of the labirynth echoed urban detour, and the installation's pedestrians became part of a tableau for the Spiral Cafe seated guests.

The portable formula first arrived at with the earlier "Condo '88" was applied to the Tokyo project, and those photo-strips used afterwards for different installations erected in Torino and Toronto. A floor-plan concept was introduced based on french curves.
The next "Complex" project developed by Via Farina in Milano, featured a massive collage of images quilted together of Milanese construction sites. These 35mm transparencies were Scotch taped together, and then printed
as murals to be sliced. The Milan project sported Vibrapac cinder blocks in five colors, alluding to Lego blocks (the artist has always stated that Lego was his formative introduction to art-making).
For the subsequent "Complex" projects erected in New York and Winnipeg,
a combo of both sets of photo-strips was available for use, and resulted in massive and ambitious installations.

"Complex '91" 1991
"Complex '91" 1991

Aerial frontal view of the "Complex '91" installation at Spiral Garden /Wacoal Art Center in Tokyo. The vantage point is taken from atop the spiral ramp-way above the Spiral Cafe. Laminated color mural photographs, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 10' (3 metres) at highest point.

"Complex '91" 1991
"Complex '91" 1991

Aerial rear view of the "Complex '91" installation at Spiral Garden /Wacoal Art Center in Tokyo. Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 10' (3 metres) at highest point.

"Complex '91" 1991
"Complex '91" 1991

Frontal view of the "Complex '91" installation at Spiral Garden /Wacoal Art Center in Tokyo. The vantage point is taken from the Spiral Cafe. Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 10' (3 metres) at highest point.

"Complex '91 /working-model" 1991
"Complex '91 /working-model" 1991

A model using balanced sugar cubes was first made to see if the height of 15 cinder blocks would be possible to balance securely.

"Complex '91 (Torino)" 1991
"Complex '91 (Torino)" 1991

View of partial installation at Castello di Rivara, Rivara /Torino, Italy Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 10' (3 metres) at highest point.

"Complex (Toronto)" 1992
"Complex (Toronto)" 1992

Partial installation view at Genereux Grunwald Gallery in Toronto Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 10' (3 metres) at highest point.

"Complex Milano" 1994
"Complex Milano" 1994

Installation view at Via Farini, Milano Laminated color mural photographs, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced multi-color cement blocks. 160" (4 metres) at highest point.

"Complex Milano (unfinished)" 1994
"Complex Milano (unfinished)" 1994

Unfinished installation view at Via Farini, Milano (before the application of photo-strips). The bricks are balanced to a height of 4 meters.

"Complex Milano" model, 1994
"Complex Milano" model, 1994

The scale model was hand-made painted wood in order to organize the multi-color arrangement.

"Complex Milano" 1994
"Complex Milano" 1994

Installation rear view of multi-color cement blocks at Via Farini, Milano.

"Complex Milano (detail)" 1994
"Complex Milano (detail)" 1994

Close-up of photo-strips showing the collage of photographs taken from Milanese construction sites. Most views were of scaffolding and tarps. The photo murals were printed from 35mm transparencies that were Scotch taped together.

Complex Milano working transparency
Complex Milano working transparency

One of the collages of 35mm transparencies on Scotch tape. All photos are of Milanese construction sites.

"Complex Milano" 1994
"Complex Milano" 1994

Right side frontal view from the installation at Via Farini, Milano Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced multi-color cement blocks. 160" (4 metres) at highest point.

"Complex Milano installation" 1994
"Complex Milano installation" 1994

Alan Belcher installing the bricks according to floor-plan. Photograph by Armin Linke.

"Complex" 1994
"Complex" 1994

Installation view of "Complex" at the White Columns Gallery in New York. Note the narrow "Broadway" between the two structures. Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 160" (4 metres) at highest point.

Complex (New York) invitation card
Complex (New York) invitation card

The invitation card was printed and cut to scale size of White Columns Gallery. Note the floor-plan installation basis is taken from french curves.

"Complex" 1995 (installation)
"Complex" 1995 (installation)

Initial installation view of "Complex" cement block floor-plan at The Winnipeg Art Gallery, Canada

"Complex" 1995
"Complex" 1995

Installation view of "Complex" at The Winnipeg Art Gallery, Canada Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 160" (4 metres) at highest point.

"Complex" 1995
"Complex" 1995

Installation view of "Complex" at The Winnipeg Art Gallery, Canada Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 160" (4 metres) at highest point.

"Complex '91" catalog
"Complex '91" catalog

Exhibition catalog for "Complex '91" published by Spiral Garden /Wacoal Art Centre (Tokyo) with essays by Yuko Hasegawa and Gregorio Magnani

Alan Belcher
Alan Belcher

Portrait of the architect in Tokyo, June 1991

"Complex Milano" logo
"Complex Milano" logo

The French curve basis for the floor-plan was used as a logo for the exhibition at Via Farini.

"Complex Milano" work table
"Complex Milano" work table

Showing the color-coded floor-plans and elevation drawings.

"Complex" Toronto
"Complex" Toronto

The graphic used for the "Complex" installation in Toronto at Genereux-Grunwald Gallery featured 35mm photo transparencies from Tokyo collage'd together with Scotch tape

Drawing for "Complex" New York
Drawing for "Complex" New York

Elevation drawing for prior installation plan for "Complex" at White Columns Gallery, New York

Complex Milano working transparency
Complex Milano working transparency

One of the collages of 35mm transparencies on Scotch tape. All photos are of Milanese construction sites.

"Complex '91" 1991
"Complex '91" 1991

Entry view of the "Complex '91" installation at Spiral Garden /Wacoal Art Center in Tokyo. Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 10' (3 metres) at highest point.

"Complex '91" 1991
"Complex '91" 1991

Partial view of the "Complex '91" installation at Spiral Garden /Wacoal Art Center in Tokyo. Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 10' (3 metres) at highest point.

"Complex '91" 1991
"Complex '91" 1991

Partial view of the "Complex '91" installation at Spiral Garden /Wacoal Art Center in Tokyo. Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 10' (3 metres) at highest point.

"Complex (Torino)" 1991
"Complex (Torino)" 1991

Partial view of installation at Castello di Rivara, Rivara /Torino, Italy Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 10' (3 metres) at highest point.

"Complex '91 (Torino)" 1991
"Complex '91 (Torino)" 1991

View of partial installation at Castello di Rivara, Rivara /Torino, Italy Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 10' (3 metres) at highest point.

"Complex '91" (Torino)" 1991
"Complex '91" (Torino)" 1991

View of partial installation at Castello di Rivara, Rivara /Torino, Italy Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 10' (3 metres) at highest point.

"Complex (Toronto)" 1992
"Complex (Toronto)" 1992

Partial installation view at Genereux Grunwald Gallery in Toronto Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 10' (3 metres) at highest point.

"Complex (Toronto)" 1992
"Complex (Toronto)" 1992

Partial installation view at Genereux Grunwald Gallery in Toronto Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 10' (3 metres) at highest point.

"Complex (Toronto)" 1992
"Complex (Toronto)" 1992

Partial installation view at Genereux Grunwald Gallery in Toronto Laminated color photograph murals, cut into strips and Velcro'd to balanced cement blocks. 10' (3 metres) at highest point.

Complex Milano invitation card
Complex Milano invitation card

The invitation card was printed and cut to scale size of Via Farini. Note the floor-plan installation basis is taken from french curves.