Artists: Basma Alsharif, Jordi Colomer, Patricia Esquivias, Emiliano Rocha Minter, Barbara T. Smith, Sergio De La Torre, and Clarissa Tossin.
The works in the exhibition present situations where individuals or groups of people find themselves in a space and have to negotiate their existence within pre-established and external conditions. Inspired by Jean Paul Sartre’s 1944 play No Exit, the exhibition considers themes of time, existence, freedom, and collectivity through time-based work. The structure of a given environment is a pervasive yet ever-evolving stimulus of human behavior capable of catalyzing a spectrum of reactions, from cultural resistance to immersion. The works in this exhibition, a selection of video installations, sound works, and performances, address the adaptability of the human condition in response to external circumstances.
The exhibition will take place at the Heritage Square Museum—a living history museum featuring nineteenth-century buildings from Southern California—a choice of location that highlights the human impulse to preserve artifacts. As the characters in No Exit questioned the peculiarity of their surroundings (a Second Empire-style parlor room), the twenty-first-century artworks stimulate a similar assessment of the three Victorian-era houses into which they are placed. The unique setting additionally highlights the prevalence of the built environment and the effects of architecture as preoccupations for many of the artists in the exhibition.