No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” — Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti

  • Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti discuss ideas behind their collaborative artwork, Paper Arch, a paper and wood structure with photographic elements, which continues the artists’ examination of architectural structures.

    MICHAEL GARLINGTON: The arch, it’s a structure that – we have been building a lot of these temple things. This is kind of a structure that we haven’t jumped into, an arch, but it’s still a portal. It’s something you walk through, and you can look up and marvel at. There’s are a few different meanings as far as the burning, for me. Obviously, that it’s a Burning Man show, and it will give the idea of deconstructing and burning in a museum where you can’t burn anything, but also, it’s really, for me, I think, a thing about the politics today – the burning arch. I feel that we are going through a time of horror.

    With this piece we can bring, not to be cheeky, but some wonder. Because I think you have to have both. That’s what’s going on, on a deeper level in this piece for me. I’m figuring it out as we are talking about it.

    NATALIA BERTOTTI: A lot comes as we do it and kind of sit back from it, later. Definitely this is a wood and paper piece, which is different than what we have done for a while. We have done a lot of plaster, cement for this piece, tile. Wood and paper is just something that’s so fun because we can kind of put whatever we want into it. We are going to make these worlds that you can look into that we don’t even know what they are yet. That’s the fun part of it, too.

    MG: Also, the photos and the shells and the different textures we use are one dimension, but they have such dimension. That’s what is so great about photos is that it’s flat, but then you are looking into a world. As we build up these different layers of that, it’s like, “What!” These pop-out books of wonder, you know. And you know what, paper is a lot lighter, I’ll tell you. I say paper, but it’s going to be built of wood. Basically, the structure is wood, but we paste a newsprint kind of paper onto the wood. We cut it out into shapes and make dimensions.