The Project Room The 9.99 gallery presents a new exhibition space for distinctive proposals by national and international artists where a specific segment of their production or a particular aspect of their work is presented. The projects may have a parallel relationship with the main exhibition or be totally independent.
As part of the gallery’s agenda in 2015, the first Project Room opens with a dialogue between Patrick Hamilton and Alejandro Almanza Pereda, along with the exhibition “5 RPM” on Thursday January 29.
Hamilton ‘s work focuses on the processes of urban “cosmetization” that took place in Santiago de Chile after the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), during which many Modernist buildings were constructed. Using the technique of collage, Hamilton intervenes images of several buildings in the city’s new financial district with adhesive paper that imitates marble and precious woods textures, to cover up and give new meaning to the local architecture. “Proyectos de arquitecturas revestidas para la Ciudad de Santiago” (Architectural projects re-covered for the City of Santiago, 2008-2009) the artist proposes a social critique that denounces the deception caused by the powerful economic sector to the Chilean people.
In the piece “Balance No. 3, Ruca” (2013) Hamilton presents a picture of a still life—a pictorial composition of inanimate objects—, which appears to be real when reproduced photographically at actual scale. The decision to use specific objects like a postcard, two chains, and a rectangle of red acetate, comes from the story that each object holds but that the artist does not reveal. Hamilton implements multiple planes with objects to build a contemporary still life to add to its fragile balance.
In contrast, the sculpture of Alejandro Almanza “Sticks & Stones No. 4” (Palos y piedras, 2014) takes up objects in diverse make up and meaning and places them in a tense and unorthodox composition. Almanza relates a wooden table and a resin bust, acquired in the flea markets, with fluorescent light tubes, tubes, stones, and what appears to be a burnt stick—objects found in the country where he creates the work. The sculpture becomes a constellation of places, memories, and stories that talk of a temporal and spatial condition. “Sticks & Stones” is the title of several popular songs; however, its origin comes from a nursery rhyme that expresses the desire not to be hurt by insults even when sticks and stones may cause one physical pain.
Winning an honorable mention at the XVI Biennial of Photography in 2014 at the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City, “The Less Things Change, the Less They Stay the Same” (Entre menos cambian las cosas, menos siguen iguales, 2014) documents the deconstruction of a metal bookshelf. A formal exercise that begins when a shelf is placed vertically resulting in endless variations, the shelf, no longer a utilitarian object, becomes a sculpture. The title of the work is a reversal of the well-known French epigram plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (the more things change, the more they stay the same) implying that at a deep level, changes do not affect reality.
Almanza, like Hamilton, focuses on the object, the material, and their inherent history and in the way they are intervened by the artist so that they retain their original meaning while adding a new one.