Performing Mechanisms

Espronceda Center for art, Barcelona

In Performing Mechanisms Netai Halup explores the performative quality of sculpture and how it can be manifested through poetic forms with an emphasis on the medium’s innate theatricality. The different installations and site-specific sculptures are consciously placed within the space to create a narrative that can be interpreted as consisting of different 'acts', as in a theatrical play these ‘acts’ are defined by elements such as rising action, climax and resolution. Through this narrative of space the artist’s aim is to create a journey between three acts beginning with its the prologue at the entrance gallery space where the artist presents the bodies and the materials as they are, un-activated.


Halup achieves this narrative by exploring the characteristics, possibilities and potentialities of the materials he finds in both natural and urban environments and by turning them into bodies that, through poetic gestures and sculptural assemblages, find their balance between states of calm and tension, fragility and solidity, together inhabiting a common space. It is a space where Halup seeks to produce physical encounters between the spectators and his sculptures, making the viewer become an active participant in his production, and proposing a scenario in which nothing seems to happen but different acts and encounters take place simultaneously, where the materials provoke each other to act, touch and activate.

As the journey comes to an end, Halup places his “final act” in an installation where, by using ice in a solid state, he keeps the tension and balance between the materials, but as the ice is melting, it breaks the balance and therefore activates the final act, giving life to the sculpture.


Halup’s sculptures result from a process of searching, placing, manipulating and acting. By exploring the limits of materiality, physical forces, structural construction, mass and balance, he juxtaposes the materials in a literal and metaphorical moment of tension where the works create a powerful interplay of fragility and strength, balance and disequilibrium. In essence, Performing Mechanisms explores performative situations in which the encounter between different materials and bodies breach through the gallery space as poetic manifestations.


Olga Sureda Guasch


Point of departure

Cement, plaster, pigment, volcanic stones, notebook



Cement and pigment

Variable dimensions 

Passivity is a form of activity

Cement and pigment

Variable dimensions 


Cement, pigment, wood, branches, strap


Bodies in a given space

Cement and pigment

Variable dimensions (site specific)


Found burnt wood on floor

site specific


Probe II

Cement, pigment, branches, sand, sandpaper 


Thought no.7 (branch in tension)

Cement, pigment, branches


Thought no.1 (with a branch)

Cement, pigment, volcanic stone, and a branch


Circular Mechanisms

Cement, pigment, wood, rope

Site specific


Cement, pigment sand, ropes, ice

Site specific

Photos by Layal Nakle