Rebar members Matthew Passmore and John Bela wanted to preserve the cultural integrity of the 32-year-old Southern Exposure gallery; not through photographs or a painting, but by drilling out a chunk of the gallery’s wall and canning it. Yes, canning it. This may sound a bit strange but their intentions are quite clever. The two got the idea by looking into the history of the gallery. Before SoEx’s existence, the building was a can manufactory called the American Can Company.
The process of canning the walls was a project created by Rebar, a San Francisco-based arts collective. For Rebar’s “Encanment” project, Passmore, Bela and their team clad in work suits, hard hats and goggles drilled 2 Â½ inch holes all over the gallery’s walls so that they could be processed, condensed, labeled and sold. This took place during Southern Exposure’s last exhibit, “Between the Walls,” before their move to a temporary new location so the gallery could undergo a seismic retrofit and renovation. Luckily, Spark made it just in time to visit the “encannery” process.
For just $20 dollars, one can holds three pieces of 2 1/2 inch of wall immersed in mineral oil, sealed shut and labeled with the words “Best Quality Gallery Space”. The money benefits Rebar and Southern Exposure.