In September, the Mexican-born artist Bosco Sodi responded to Trump’s border wall plans with "Muro," a one-day performance installation in Washington Square Park in downtown New York City. “Muro” translates to “wall” in Spanish, an apt title for what Sodi built, brick by brick, with the help of his Mexican creative friends living in the city and anyone who happened to be in the park between 3 and 8 p.m. After every brick was stacked, the wall was torn down by the same people who might otherwise be on both sides of the wall, suggestively breaking down physical and mental barriers. Sodi made 1,600 clay bricks for Muro by extracting raw earth and mixing it with water and sand to form clay–a vernacular Mexican building material. The clay was then shaped and smoothed by hand into solid cubes that were left to air dry in the sun at his studio in Oaxaca, Mexico. Once cured, the cubes were fired in a traditional brick kiln with wood, jacaranda seeds, and coconut shells. Using the same process, Sodi formed clay cube sculptures, which he considers “living sculptures,” for Caryatides, his first solo exhibit at Paul Kasmin Gallery, on view until January 6, 2018. Stacked in a series of volumes, the cubes are a material amalgam of varied terra cotta hues, streaks of green and black, and jolie laide surfaces. The Architect's Newspaper spoke with Bosco Sodi about his exhibit and his process. Architect's Newspaper: Why clay? Bosco Sodi: Clay is one of the early material building materials. It is poetic, representing the essence of human building. I have been using clay for 3 years. It began when I started to go very often to see the [local] clay workers. I visited them and started to experiment. I wanted to do something that was seemingly impossible to develop with the material. It took a year to develop a cube that did not split and break. We made them by hand, and then we let them dry in the sun for two months, then they cook in the kiln. Each [Caryatides] cube weighs 3,000 pounds. AN: What is unique about your process of making these works? BS: Made with no mold, they are completely human-formed. The materials [themselves] are unpredictable; they create a unique result each time. The clay cubes and bricks are made by hand, in the same process to build the wall in Washington Square Park and the sculptures in the gallery. They are political pieces. AN: How is the material political? BS: All of the bricks have different colors, yet they are made the same. They are the metaphor of the dream of what it meant to come [to the United States]. AN: And then, the political meaning came into form as performance at the Muro installation? BS: Yes. We put up a wall in the U.S. made by Mexicans with Mexican elements: sun, water, fire, wind, and earth. It was made in a public place, New York, by Mexicans. Then, we let everyone take it down. It was a social performance where you become part of a happening and a result of the piece. Caryatides, the first solo exhibition devoted to Bosco Sodi’s clay cube sculptures, is on view through January 6, 2018 at Paul Kasmin Gallery on 515 West 27th Street. *This interview was edited minimally for clarity.
Posts tagged with "Paul Kasmin Gallery":
New York–based artist Roxy Paine has two series of artworks—both distinct and striking—on display at Paul Kasmin Gallery in Chelsea. The first are the "Dendroids," the latest iteration of a long-running group of all-stainless steel sculptures that meditate on how the industrial transforms into the natural. These gleaming artworks feature man-made objects, human organs, and other abstract forms seamlessly melded with trees. But the exhibition's other trio of works—the "Dioramas," titled experiment, Meeting, and Desolation Row—are even more surreal and provocative. experiment portrays one of the CIA's "MKUltra" experiments, which lasted from the 1950s to 70s and had scientists observe the effects of LSD on subjects, sometimes without their permission and coupled with various forms psychological manipulation and torture. No photographs of these experiments exist, but Paine has crafted a vision here. He situates the viewer in front of an MKUltra experiment, with a CIA observation room looking onto a testing area (a generic, hotel-like bedroom and bathroom). The former is dark gray, the latter all yellow. Most remarkably, an incredibly acute forced perspective compresses the two small rooms together. From a certain angle, the vanishing point and scale are flawless, but any slight movement reveals the extreme compression of the observation room furniture. No glass separates the viewer from the two spaces, but the yellow hotel room feels miles away. The collapse of visual perception in experiment, combined with its subject matter, forces the viewer to confront paradoxes of perception, reality, and control, all to very chilling effect. Meeting is far more ghostly. It depicts the windowless meeting room of a twelve-step substance abuse program; the diorama features models of generic office furniture and bright white fluorescent lighting. As with experiment, the forced perspective is flawless, but the diorama's eye-level placement and realistic coloring heighten its strangeness. From afar, with its harsh fluorescent illumination, the room appears photo-realistic. But as the diorama pulls you closer, rough and unfamiliar textures appear on the floor and chairs. As you approach the far corners, it appears as though the scene has been put under a fisheye lens. Unlike Meeting, there are no shadows. All these effects make experiment pass from surreality to almost nightmare. The last diorama is Desolation Row, which depicts a smoldering landscape of blackened earth and burnt trees, still glowing with orange light. There's no use of forced perspective here—at least, none that I could see, though the diorama's farther trees do shrink in scale. Desolation Row evokes a cycle of growth and destruction, as well as themes of control, man, and nature that run throughout all the exhibition's artworks. Architects will certainly appreciate the care taken with these dioramas; Paine's attention to detail and perspective is remarkable. However, while architectural models aim to explain, elucidate, and convince, these do the opposite—they disturb, provoke, and question. The show—titled Farewell Transmission—is on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery at 293 & 297 Tenth Avenue, New York City.
Iván Navarro’s Mute Parade exhibition opened this week at New York's Paul Kasmin Gallery. The show features two large works that employ light, sound, and language to engage ideas of migration, propaganda, and power. The first gallery features Navarro’s Impenetrable Room—a labyrinth of six 6-by-6-foot structures outfitted with mirrors and undulating, green neon lights whose interior spaces seem to recede into infinity. The adjacent gallery features two drums, each of them 6 feet in diameter, that incorporate neon LEDs, mirrors, as well a pyramid of six more drums on the rear wall. The interior of each artwork is outfitted with messages that play on the intersection of political and instrumental themes. Iván Navarro was born in 1972 in Santiago, Chile, during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. He is known internationally for the politically charged messages of his sculptures and represented Chile at the 53rd Venice Biennale. The exhibition, running through late December, will be his second solo show at Paul Kasmin Gallery.
1976: Movies, Photographs and Related Works on Paper Paul Kasmin Gallery 515 West 27th St. Through February 11 British-born James Nares has lived in New York since the mid-1970s, when Lower Manhattan was “a beautiful ruin,” according to the artist. While most celebrated for his large, single-stroke kinetic paintings, the artist has a long track record of documenting his fascination with movement and bodies in motion dating back to the days when he delved into many other media such as films and chronophotographs. The exhibition features five films including Pendulum (1976), in which Nares clocks a large spherical mass swinging from a footbridge, against the industrial backdrop of downtown Manhattan—evocative of the foreboding, dreamlike qualities also seen in Giorgio de Chirico’s surreal paintings.
The Brooklyn-based Chilean artist Ivan Navarro will take to the floor at the Amory Show tonight, as well as to the walls at the Paul Kasmin Gallery on West 27th St. and 10th Ave. "The Armory Fence" installation outlines the entirety of the gallery's booth as a humming neon riff on a conventional suburban fence. At 23 by 36 feet it cuts quite a substantial swath of real estate at the fair. At the gallery, neon wall sculptures inspired by some of the world's most famous buildings suggest a disco take on the familiar icons, but a second glance reveals a deeper sense of gravity, with words like "surrender" or "abandon" subtly etched atop the glass.