CROSS-CUTS GROUP SHOW 2: FIGURAL/CONCRETE
february 02 – 13 | nara roesler new york
JULIO LE PARC
Formes reelles et virtuelles, 1958 / 2010
acrylic paint on canvas
51.2 x 51.2 in | 130 x 130 cm
Julio Le Parc is internationally recognized as one of the leading names in Optical and Kinetic art. Over the course of six decades, he has performed groundbreaking experiments with light, movement, and color, seeking to promote new possibilities for the relationship between art and society from a utopian perspective. The artist's canvases, sculptures, and installations challenge the traditional Art Historical definition of paintings: he uses mediums that pertain to pictorial tradition, such as acrylic on canvas while incorporating formal kinetic processes using technical assemblages.
Formes réelles et virtuelles embodies the artist's characteristic interest in exploring the phenomena that shape our visual perception. With this in mind, the composition juxtaposes black and white geometrical shapes on the canvas so as to elicit movement and rhythms that provoke engaging vibrations, turning the process of observation into an active, rather than a passive act. Thus, the painting activates the viewer’s physical perception with as much potency as that of Le Parc’s sculptures and installations. In curator Matthieu Poirier's words, "Le Parc’s visual language is paradoxical: it proves to be as minimalist as it is labyrinthine. It systematically takes the opposing view of classical composition, whether that is abstract or totally spectacular. The works, which use vertigo and disorientation to destabilize the retina, never cease to either dominate or evade our perception.”
welded stainless steel bars ed X/unlimited edition
118.1 x 19.7 x 19.7 in | 300 x 50 x 50 cm
León Ferrari is one of Latin America’s most widely acclaimed artists. His practice involves a wide variety of media, including collage, installation, sculpture, drawing, and video. Ferrari always sought to understand and expand the idea of language as a form of visual expression, while also questioning Western ideologies, whether in politics and authoritarian regimes, in the imposition of values in religion, and art itself. His works often offer shrewdly ironic socio-political observations and comments by using figures of speech such as metaphor, repetition or alliteration.
Colgante is part of a body of wire sculptures, which the artist began to develop in 1961, interrupted in 1964 and resumed in 1976, while in exile in Brazil. The works evince a career-long preoccupation with the relationship between lines and space, whereby the artist soldered the works in order to create large straight lines that would contrast expansive voids, developing somewhat of inverted pendulums with steel rods. Ferrari ensured the rods produced a soft murmur as they moved, turning them into what he described as, ‘artefacts for drawing sounds.’ These works also placed the role of light at the forefront, as the straight lines allowed it to penetrate the sculptures, absorbing, reflecting and refracting it. Interestingly, curator and critic Aracy Amaral notably describes these sculptures as ‘linear galaxies, nuclei suspended in contained spaces or models of imaginary buildings.’
Molded Poem # 7, 1976
cuts from sewing patterns magazine
11.5 x 8.7 in | 29,3 x 22,2 cm
Paulo Bruscky is one of the leading figures of conceptual art in Brazil. His practice is based on an idea of art as a means of information and is characterized by a deep sense of experimentality, resulting in a wide variety of works that include visual poetry, books, performances, urban interventions, letters, photocopies, amongst other unprecedented media. Bruscky is also known for his challenging of social and political norms in a manner that resembles activism, in a moment that coincided with and disputed the validity of military governments and dictatorships across Latin America.
Bruscky began his research in the 1960s with his participation in the movement poetry/process, where he met Robert Rehfeldt, a member of Fluxus. He was then introduced to the international circuit of Postal Art, which Bruscky engaged with in 1973 and pioneered in Brazil. He developed an intense dialogue with several artists from the Fluxus and Gutai movements, attending to those who came from regions suffering from socio-political oppression. Many of his works challenge the very sense of art-making, questioning what art's function is, what validity its production methods and norms have, and where its poetry lies.
oil paint and wax on linen
88.6 x 43.7 x 1.5 in | 225 x 111 x 3,7 cm
Fabio Miguez began his artistic career in the 1980s when, alongside Carlito Carvalhosa, Nuno Ramos, Paulo Monteiro, and Rodrigo Andrade, they founded the studio Casa 7. Miguez initially worked with painting exclusively, as did the other group members. However, beginning in the 1990s, Miguez started expanding his practice exploring photography and installation work, further amplifying his line of research and the nature of his engagement with his medium of choice: painting. His degree in architecture brings to his work a constructivist influence that engages with concerns regarding scale, material, and figuration. The artist often deals with modular forms in relation to combinatory logic, employing repetitions and operations of inversion and mirroring. In his work, every painting is a fragment of the real in the way that each one reaffirms its material condition.
In the words of curator Agnaldo Farias, ‘The artist employs modular shapes, which he submits to a combinatory reasoning, creating sequences that vary through inversions of, and spacings between, the shapes. In this way, if a certain part of the painting evokes an arch, or a doorway, and is turned upside down, it suddenly reminds us of a vase. The spatial logic, which traditionally was resolved within the very planes and depths of a painting, now expands to the mind of the viewer with irresistible attempts to see possible associations - to test the rules of the game - and imagine the steps that the painting’s main elements could take were they to transcend into, or retract from space, closing into itself.’
Abraham Palatnik is an iconic figure in the optical and kinetic art movements of Brazil - a pioneer in his long-standing interest in exploring the creative possibilities embedded in the crossings of art and technology. Having studied engineering, the artist became interested in investigating mechanic uses of light and movement. In 1949, he rose to prominence with the creation of his first Aparelho Cinecromático [Kinechromatic Device] effectively reinventing the idea of a painting by using different voltage bulbs moving at different speeds and directions to create kaleidoscopic images. The piece was shown at the 1st Bienal de São Paulo (1951) and received an Honorable Mention from the International Jury for its’ originality.
Abraham Palatnik subsequently initiated his so-called Progressions, made out of various materials (such as wood, duplex cardboard, and acrylic), in which he characteristically created a sense of rhythmic undulation through either, geometrically fragmented abstract compositions, or intercalated and shifted strips of patterned - painted or naturally-occurring- materials. In the words of curator and critic Frederico Morais, ‘In the different series of progressions there is always a residual image that insists on manifesting itself. Palatnik’s greatest concern is to reaffirm the physicality of the surface (and the rigor of the image itself), insofar as it can no longer be distinguished from the support – a concrete, palpable reality – not an illusion.’
Leo # 2, 2018
peroba rosa wood, brass and steel cable
77.2 x 3.1 x 3.1 in | 196 x 8 x 8 cm
Artur Lescher is renowned within the contemporary Brazilian art scene for his characteristic three-dimensional works. Over the past thirty years, he has produced a robust body of work characterized by investigations that entwine matter, form and psyche. His pieces have come to transcend their sculptural character, crossbreeding the boundaries of installations and objects to modify the understanding of these categories and the space in which they insert themselves.
Sextante, Leo, and Frank are part of an ongoing body of work mainly characterized by vertical pendulum-like sculptures, installed in space. Through this particular form and positioning, the work establishes a unique sense of spatial tension as it sections the area. The work thus conveys the physicality of an architectural column, while the trace of its moving shadow projects silhouettes unto its surrounding surfaces. Notably, the luminous shine of the polished metal reflects and re-shapes the space it occupies, also transforming itself as it integrates parts of its setting onto its surface. In addition, both mirror and wood, while enticing, force distance as their exactitude, industrial-like appearance, does not establish a sense of intimacy nor does it urge touch, but rather invites for contemplation. In the artist's words, ‘My interest lies in the tension between void and built matter with small variations in light that is able to radically redesign the space. Certain things can exist by themselves without having to be in relation to something else. It is also quite clear to me that the mere presence of people and things activate and requalify space by establishing contacts and contexts, which I analyze as the idea of art. In my opinion, an art object is a kind of trap able to attract the perception of the viewer.’
Chernobyl Project | Fragment of a ground I | 7.432 µSv, 2007/2010
positive contact print for radiographic negative
11.8 x 15.7 in | 30 x 40 cm
Alice Miceli’s work applies investigative travel and historical research to chart the virtual, physical and cultural manifestations of trauma inflicted on social and natural landscapes. In creating alternative photographic documents on extreme, socio-political issues, she has explored sites such as the S21 Prison in Cambodia and the Exclusion Zone of Chernobyl. Her research focuses on post-conflict areas with the aim of visually addressing the spatial consequences caused by remnants of war or catastrophes across diverse contexts in the most heavily affected areas of the world. In the artist's own words, ‘In my work in Chernobyl, the nature of the visual and its borders were thus explored to show how radiation escapes visibility and yet defines an environment. If a place does not reveal itself in the visual, the question then becomes how to look. The poetic as well as the physical operation of the work needed to reside in the capturing of the image, on film, in the impression of a physical impact created by the means of radiation itself.
I spent nearly a year working with physicists in Brazil (which also has experienced a nuclear disaster that released the same Cesium 137 as found in Chernobyl) to create a radiological process that would leave visible images of the radioactive decay occurring within the landscape. The experiments were then multiplied and placed in the most contaminated locations within the Exclusion Zone, filled with radiographic film to be exposed directly to the site’s invisible radiation over time. The marks captured on film are the direct result of this radioactive exposure. The resulting series consists in 30 large- format radiographic negatives.’
Ligação laranja, 2020
oil paint on canvas
89 x 78 in | 226 X 198 cm
Having begun his career in a tumultuous setting during the military dictatorship of Brazil, Sérgio Sister’s originally figurative abstract practice accompanied the artist during his time as a political prisoner, but was short-lived due to the trauma that imbued his work. Following his release, the artist turned to a monochromatic production – perhaps as a means of distancing himself from the hardship of his earlier years – which has guided his work ever since. Sem Título is part of rigorous and relentless investigation into chromatic structures and their behavior, independently and in relation to each other, also exploring the physical possibilities in layers, density, and subtle gesturality.
In his own words, ‘What I can say, is that I seek to maintain, within my paintings, coloristic and formal elements that can be understood with light, the mother of visual sensation, and, at the same time, that crumble with doubts about their assertive capacity. Colors, in most cases, carry additional pigments or waxes that evoke other possibilities, whether through different luminosities, that distract us from their supposed integrity; or through the opacity that silences them; or through the whitening that weakens them. It is about going, saying, doing, but also encouraging hesitation and doubt.’ Luis Pérez-Oramas further noted that Sister's ‘work is characterized by a logic of repetition and difference, however, avoiding seriality and featuring masterfully achieved color- field structures which can arguably be considered as some of the most significant examples of late-modern monochromatic paintings in Latin America.’