Everyday Reflections in Abstraction
Curated by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and Greg Attaway
July 29th, 2016 – January 1, 2017
SPACE, Irvine, CA
Artists: Esvin Alarcón Lam, Jaime Ávila, Omar Barquet, Pia Camil, Casari & PPPP, Gabriel de la Mora, Marcius Galan, Guido Ignatti, Jorge Méndez Blake, Felipe Mujíca, Mario Navarro, Ricardo Rendón, Clarissa Tossin, Adán Vallecillo
We can find echoes of our daily experience in the world, ranging from the intimacy of our homes to the expansive arena of the outer world in Latin American contemporary abstraction. Everyday Reflections in Abstraction is divided into two sections: Interior and Exterior. Interior includes Esvin Alarcón Lam, Omar Barquet, Guido Ignatti, Jorge Méndez Blake, Gabriel de la Mora, Felipe Mujica, Mario Navarro and Ricardo Rendón, all dealing with the transformation of unpretentious elements of a domestic setting such as chairs, cots, mirrors, copper tubes, curtains, and a window. Exterior encompasses Jaime Ávila, Pia Camil, Alberto Casari, Marcius Galan, Clarissa Tossin, and Adán Vallecillo, focusing on the paradoxical structures that shape the urban environment and our interactions with it.
Everyday Reflections in Abstraction is an Abstraction in Action initiative to promote new ways of thinking and experiencing Latin American contemporary abstraction through art works from the holdings of the SPACE Collection. The show is curated by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and Greg Attaway.
Abstraction may allow us to reimagine daily objects and thus the routines that unknowingly revolve around them. The artists in this section deconstruct and rethink the daily. Esvin Alarcón Lam Variation with Cots (Variation No.1), 2014 is a large installation made with old and rusty found cots, that rearticulate the very syntax of one of the most elemental icons of human existence: the cot, to become a sort of imaginary text or musical composition. Omar Barquet Astillas, 2012 displays small fragments of legs from chairs, thus displacing the chair from its use to a ghostly presence on the wall. This work is part of the artists ongoing research on the language of design combined with the daily, which implodes conventions to create open situations. By the artist Gabriel de la Mora is Pomona 36 II D, 2012, composed of a 1904 detached ceiling. According to the artist this is, “a painting done over the course of 108 years”, thus the traditional idea of decorative painting on the wall is replaced by a large ready-made of a ceiling. Felipe Mujica, Untitled (Curtain #3), 2013 is an example of installations Mujica has produced with fabric panels. According to the artist these “aim to be drawings that occupy space and also curtains that function as space organizers, as temporary walls that canalize the public’s circulation and perception of space as well as the perception of other possible art works in space. In this sense these installations are both an object of contemplation as well as a functional device, they become exhibition design and flexible temporary architecture.”
Guido Ignatti, Pintura y tapiado para una ventana inexistente, (Boarded Up Painting for an Inexistent Window), 2012 offers the illusion of a window and exterior light when none exists. The artist writes that “another place becomes possible if we open the windows.” For Ignatti, light during the day reveals the passing of time and how we are subjected to it. At night when the light is absent, artificial light, does the opposite. Perhaps this work offers just that, the illusion that neither separation between the outside and the inside exists, nor between day and night, or natural and artificial.
Mario Navarro The Original Accident (Section IV), 2015 is a large scale installation with mirrors which instead of reflecting the organic form of the spectator, it atomizes the wall in a geometric composition with multiple reflections of the mirrors themselves. This work is part of an ongoing investigation by the artist on the relationship between the principles of architecture and forms through sculpture and installation, with the aim of pushing the boundaries of composition, space and perception. Ricardo Rendón, Circuitos de Iluminaciíon (D’Alembert), 2015 and Circuitos de Iluminaciíon (Voltaire), 2015 are sculptures in copper and felt, associated with labors executed by plumbers and electricians. Rendón produces unexpected sculptural compositions which contrast the soft texture and bright color of the felt with copper tubes. A further reference in the piece are the names of d’Alembert and Voltaire, alluding to ‘Enlightenment’, thus bringing together the lighting as a practical element and the more philosophical allusion to knowledge. Espacio de concentración (fricción y contacto 8), 2010 by Ricardo Rendón materializes the beauty of basic materials of construction such as sand paper, copper pipes, industrial felt, and wood. What may seem excessively humble and common materials become the structural elements for sculptures that are highly pictorial with their large planes of yellow felt or colored sandpaper.
Jorge Méndez Blake, Monumento a James Joyce, 2011 bridges both the indoor and the outdoor sections of the exhibition. The artist relates classic literature with contemporary architecture and visual arts to create art based on the notion of the “library”. This work refers to Ulysses (1922) by James Joyce which recounts in 600 pages the events in Leopold Bloom during one day, therefore turning a day into something incalculably complex. “The Library/monument has a simple exterior form, a cube (the day), but inside is a complex and infinite number of shapes and reflections. The possibility of infinity in a day.” This work by Mendez-Blake symbolizes how the daily may be expanded immeasurably through art.
This section highlights artists’ unconventional relationship with the urban environment and their capacity to transform and highlight both the visible and the invisible, the common and the extraordinary. Jaime Ávila’s installation Untitled from the series Talento Pirata, 2013, speaks of how piracy in the form of illegal copying of movies and music through technology has become a widespread type of informal economy, especially for unemployed people that sell them in the streets. The artist, in the same way that a movie can be reproduced hundreds of times, has created 546 CD boxes which replicate this form of illegal economy and urban landscape, by combining photographs and cut outs of colorful geometric shopping bags. Pia Camil Espectacular Telón, 2013, is a large backdrop curtain with images appropriated or copied directly from billboards that have been transformed due to abandonment and the passing of time, speaking this way of the failures of mass culture. For the artist this work being a curtain -a domestic element- it creates a relationship with the culture of spectacle. Alberto Casari, EM.SB.13.2, 2013 is a work made with a waxed canvas with holes. The canvas was once a truck tarpaulin that the artist cut, intervened horizontally with dark paint on the lower section and hung from a strip of wood, paradoxically invoking a sort of meditative landscape, grounded on the materiality of the work. Marcius Galan Irregular Division, 2014, is a concrete geometric floor installation which configuration may bring to mind sidewalks while creating a division of the gallery space. Thus, in the artist’s words “exploring the metaphorical capacities of space and our relation to it (… and) interrogating the functions, limits and frontiers of space and by extension, the socio-political systems which reside therein”. Clarissa Tossin Brasília by Foot, 2009-2013 presents the footpaths made by pedestrians within the Monumental Axis, a modernist urban structure in the city of Brasília, consisting of six lane roads with no traffic lights or sidewalks. The complex networks of organic geometric paths created by pedestrians, contrasts with the modern urban structure that excluded them in the first place. Adán Vallecillo’s Pantones, 2013 displays a series of brightly colored sheets of plastic in space, that when seen in close proximity we observe dirt and wear of the material. For this work the artist reflects on the resourcefulness of the people in the jungle town of Iquitos, Peru, in deploying the sheet of cheap colorful plastic to protect their motorcycle taxis, thus creating a popular and unselfconscious form of live abstraction.