Skip to content


PLAF – Autonomous Mechanism

Eltono and Momo

Exhibition: September 1 – October 10, 2008
Opening Reception: September 25, 6 – 9pm

Outdoors: An Undetermined Length of Time


This collaboration has been entirely unsanctioned, in urban water, and kinetic, or illegal, wet, and moving. The sculptures have been made entirely of recycled materials. Its with great pride and thanks; we had guidence and the generous use of a Russian inflatable boat, from Marie Lorenz.

The idea that New York exists because of these extensive waterways, is fascinating. More fascinating is how invisible these places can be to general pedestrians. One year ago Eltono and MOMO in Madrid, planned to explore this key area of key city and create works there. Since both artists like to see their work completed by its environment, they decided to harness rather than resist the enormous forces that would be at play. The seven Mechanisms installed in New York water are Autonomous in a range from chaos (the artwork was lost in minutes) to engineered (four works are still functioning perfectly, a month on)


The aesthetic came directly from practical considerations, such as how can these works resist, function and be seen. Looking at everything from fishing rods to light houses to tug boats and life jackets, for engineering basics, we found a curiously similar visual style, that besides resembling the graphic colorful work we already do, seemed practical and proven in this environment. This style looks cool. But it should also help it be seen, as a fishing bobbers’ colorful design is readable from a great distance and communicates information easily.


We drank some of the East River and it tastes good (when you’re paddling for your life and very thirsty).

A Sunday painter (it was Sunday) set up in the East River Park, captured our sculpture wonderfully in his landscape of the NYC skyline – see photos.

We’ve overheard people explaining how our sculptures function. When its kids telling their parents, it really blows our minds: to witness the idea transferred.

From the gallery:

Anonymous Gallery is extremely pleased to present its inaugural exhibition: an ambitious collaborative project and exhibition created by Eltono and MOMO – entitled PLAF – Autonomous Mechanisms. Plaf is a word for splash in both Spanish and French and relates to the on-going project that features kinetic sculptures that have been placed and fastened in several locations in the New York Waterways. Constructed from used materials, the work will be left to the elements as a way to explore the force and power of water that goes unused and unnoticed in New York City. Using the rivers water, wind, tides, and currents, the sculptures will shift and decay, leaving the work just as it is without comment on form or representation. September1st Anonymous Gallery will be providing an information booth and map created by the artists. The public can then go search and find the ongoing outdoor artwork and share in the environment in which it is presented. This information will be available during business hours and online at

Throughout the month of September, Eltono and MOMO will also be constructing an indoor exhibition that reflects the work and progress outdoors. While their project is primarily ephemeral, the indoor exhibition will serve to document and preserve their research, ideas, model making and related art. Every three to five days Eltono and MOMO will install new work that includes silkscreen prints, video, collage, painting, and sculpture. The on-going exhibition, along with the map and information will be available to the public from September 1st until October 10th and will be celebrated with a public exhibition opening on September 25th from 6-9pm.

The New York City environment will do the final arranging (and dismantling) of these kinetic installations, as such, the artists have created “Autonomous Mechanisms” that can function by themselves, beyond control; a spectacle of chance. This continues a line of inquiry both have perused: creating works that depend on their environment for completion. The collaboration is also special for the reason it joins two artists who have both have pioneered abstract work in the genre of “street art”.

PLAF is largely facilitated, inspired by, and at one point will be overlapping with Marie Lorenz’s “Tide and Current Taxi” project. Marie Lorenz has ferried people through New York waterways in a boat she has constructed, for three years, “carrying people to the edge of civilization”. In 2006 MOMO and Zosen of Barcelona built a twelve foot Totem Pole in the East River with Marie on a voyage of the “Tide and Current Taxi”.

The groundbreaking graphic interventions of the artist Eltono, French born and residing in Madrid, have attracted attention in cities all over the world. He leaves his marks between Scotland and Brazil. Derived from classical graffiti writing, Eltono has developed a unique form of abstract minimalism that has led to outdoor work for the Tate Modern in London, a sanctioned project on 150 doors in a Spanish Village, Gallery shows in 12 countries, the 2002 Liverpool Biennial, and Spanish Arco art fair. With his own form of expression he defines and emphasizes gaps in public urban space. Eltono’s urban interventions are the result of a spontaneous reaction to confront the visual saturation of the urban space. Painting simple forms such as tuning forks, without an apparent message, is his way of countering the posters, advertising and signs that are imposed, almost with force, to the eyes of urban pedestrians. In this context, his paintings propose a kind of visual rest, they do not sell or order anything, they only exist in an aesthetic and composition proposal questioning mass communication. They are an open door to observation and free interpretation.

MOMO is from San Francisco Bay. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, by way of 12 mostly adventurous years in southern climes; Jamaica, Spain, New Orleans, Key West, Taos, Georgia and North Carolina. He’s lived in tents, caves, cars, and sheds. His ephemeral projects have included sabotaged war advertisements, he tagged the width of Manhattan, predicted the Sept 24 2007 New Yorker cover, built a totem pole in the east river in 2006, made a sculpture with spandex and lighting for the Wooster Collective 11 Spring St show, and pushed large-scale collage forward. MOMO has been flown to Madrid, Manchester, and Seoul, for separate projects. This year he pieced together computer script The MOMO Maker, to create his work for him, leading to a series of similar looking silkscreen street posters installed in New York and London. Most recently, he and Melissa Brown were invited to paint over and destroy each other’s work every other day, for a month outside at Espeis Gallery in Brooklyn.

Outdoor Installations

Eltono and MOMO are installing kinetic sculptures in New York waterways. Check back all September 2008, as we add locations.

  • Share/Bookmark