Re-opening of The 9.99 gallery.
Friday June 14th, 2013.
Group Show: Andrea Aragón, Edgar Calel, Benvenuto Chavajay, Tepeu Choc, Diana de Solares, Dario Escobar, Aníbal Lopez (A1 53167), Ángel Poyón.
The exhibition And … So? which inaugurates the new space of The 9.99 Gallery, proposes to resume the artistic dialogue that was interrupted with the closing of the previous exhibition space. This way one of the few projects devoted to give visibility to the art being produced today in Guatemala it is initiated once again. In this first exhibition eight emerging and established artists from the region present works of art around the object.
In the last decades the universe of the object has become critical for the understanding of art today. In order to comprehend the changes that have pointed out to this scenario it is necessary to look at the modern period, the moment in which mimicking the natural world did not represent the reality anymore and the object started to become a symbol of modern life. Marcel Duchamp’s ideas, one of the great predecessors of conceptual art, were born from a modern time loaded with mass produced industrial objects in which the artisanal aspect was diluted into a uniform anonymity. However, art gives back its relevance to the object placing it as an artistic element and transforming it into a unique piece through the hand of the artist, raising questions about authorship and the importance of the concept or the intellectual aspects versus the handmade.
The artists participating in this exhibition explore the object from different perspectives, in some cases there is a primarily formal investigation on the object and its representation. Diana de Solares, for example, transforms found materials to create abstract minimalistic structures transmuting exhibition spaces into intimate places. Tepeu Choc also works with modifications,in his case the art pieces derive from the graphic arts; he utilizes letters of different fonts to create abstract nets. Meanwhile Dario Escobar continues his research on the Baroque lines within the space with pieces such as Escultura transparente No. 2 (Transparent Sculpture No. 2) and at the same time takes one more step in his transgressive approach on authorship utilizing chance as an artistic element as well in pieces such as Pintura abstracta No. 7 (Abstract Painting No. 7), made at a blacksmith in which the artist leaves the canvas that is being formed through the work of the smith that uses it as a backdrop during his working process.
Edgar Calel, Benvenuto Chavajay and Angel Poyón work on sculptural pieces based on the object. Born in the inland part of the country, more specifically in San Pedro la Laguna and San Juan de Comalapa, their works of art refer to the rural world and the popular culture through the usage of conceptual pieces of intervened objects. The clay and the maguey used by Chavajay to explore the void, the hats with drawings by Poyón that refer to geography and progress and the thirteen wire threads by Calel alluding to the Mayan cycle are some of the examples of the type of pieces by these artists who are capable of combining the past with the present utilizing an international aesthetic language.
There is also a significant offshoot in the photography world interested in exploring the object. Andrea Aragón is part of this group, in her case the importance of the representation of the object it is not the depiction of the object itself but the absence it suggests promoting a sense of mystery and raising questions with each of the images. The object has also taken the leap to the world of performance, Aníbal López not only uses objects in his actions in works such as Gratis (Free) in which he questions the economic and artistic value of mere cardboard boxes, he also presents the objectifying of humankind in pieces like Limpieza (Cleaning).
As manifested through And… So?, almost a century after the birth of the first ready-mades, the object continues to be a fundamental piece in the art world. Throughout the years the field of the object has been expanding in multiple directions and is now part of almost every genre generating a broad experimentation. In fact, the usage of the object is a mere reflection of present life in which material goods and consumerism are the base of our society. The artists participating in this exhibition are only testifying through their artistic practices the characteristics of our modern life today.