• Maria Ezcurra, Leopard Swimsuit, 2001

    Maria Ezcurra, Leopard Swimsuit, 2001

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5 July 2005 - 18 July 2005

This exhibition presents new donations alongside some other remarkable works in the collection. The selected pieces challenge our perception of reality by questioning its limits and altering traditional ways of representation. 

These alterations occur in different ways: by the employment of unusual materials, the subversion of the technical rules linked to a particular medium, or the manipulation of symbolic meaning. These works offer an opportunity to re-think reality from different view points. The works in the exhibition are by Albano Afonso (Brazil), Nora Aslan (Argentina), Maria Elvira Escallon (Colombia), Maria Ezcurra (Mexico), León Ferrari (Argentina), Siron Franco (Brazil) and Eduardo Kac (Brazil).

Maria Elvira Escallon's photographs from the ongoing series Nuevas Floras(New Flowers)record sculptural interventions on trees which unfold in time. The carvings are realised on one side of the branches transplanting art historical references to the environment as well as subverting notions of man-made and natural shapes.

Maria Ezcurra's Blue- and Leopard Swimming Suit installations create unease - or perhaps laughter- by subverting the use of garments, in this case stretched women's swimming suits, turning them into wall-based or sculptural objects that retain memories of the human body.

León Ferrari's Caligrafia (Calligraphy) is a written drawing which uses as its starting point the transcription of a press cutting referring to routine updates on government policies. The curvilinear shapes of the handwriting are more evocative of intricate drawing than of calligraphy, taking the viewer away from that which is its source: a simple piece of newsprint.

Albano Afonso's reinterpretation of great master paintings produces an alteration of the original works through the employment of photography, simple lighting techniques and montage. The painting he reworks here is The Cheat by the 18th century French painter Georges de La Tour. In O Impostor apos La Tour (The Imposter after La Tour) the image is composed of four self portraits taken by the artist in his studio and shot at low speed. The artist himself enacts all the characters in the source painting to compose the original action: a game of cards where cheating is taking place.

The collage from the series Ventanas Chinas (Chinese Windows) by Nora Aslan produces a contradictory perception depending on the position of the viewer's body. At distance, the work looks like the architectural design in an oriental window, but on close inspection we are confronted with a myriad of images. The kaleidoscopic composition is made up of small photographs of endangered species and polluted urban landscapes, identifying the self-destructive effect of so-called evolution.

Siron Franco's Casulo (Cocoon) is a human size cocoon made of unusual materials including human hair, insect bits, clay and pigment. The sculpture hangs from the ceiling like a sinister crysalis with an oversized insect growing inside its protective shield, soon to break free and start to fly. The scale and materials employed in this piece are disorientating in the context of the gallery space.

Holo/Olho (Holo/Eye) is the first of Eduardo Kac's holopoems: language works produced using the medium of holography. The work consists of a holographic image of the words HOLO (holo) and OLHO (eye), which is activated by light reflection. Like cinema, holograms are concerned with time and movement. The difference between them is that instead of images being projected in quick succession onto a single screen, the different shots within each hologram are projected through a singular filmic surface.(1) This surface simultaneously records a series of different images - in the case of Kac's holopoems, words - from different points of view. Each holopoem thus compresses a substantial amount of recorded time in the form of different sequences of letters, a form of subverted time which can be perceived only when one moves around it.

Gabriela Salgado, June 2005

(1) see Isobel Whitelegg, 'Writing Space', in Transit (University of Essex, 2002)

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