San Pedro Garza Garcia
September 06-October 25, 2014
Opening Reception September 06, 2014 5-7pm
Shoshana Wayne Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of a new body of work by photographer Yvonne Venegas titled San Pedro Garza Garcia. This is the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery.
Named after the municipality in Nuevo León, part of the Monterrey Metropolitan area in Mexico, Venegas’ San Pedro Garza Garcia focuses on a select group of residents who enjoy the trappings of an upper class life. That San Pedro Garza Garcia with a population of 150,000 has the highest income per capita in all of Latin America is not a coincidence for Venegas who has long captured the distinct demarcations of Mexico’s social class differences through the lens of her camera. In San Pedro the social structure is more complicated than the rest of Mexico with layers of hierarchy operating within an already hierarchical system. The result is a unique mircocosm where appearances are cherished.
Over the years, Venegas has a developed a specific visual language through her photographs which thrive on moments of fleeting imperfection. She captures her subjects in flux, scenes that reveal artifice, and various states of becoming. Venegas balances beauty and composition with ideas of the absurd. She finds substance beneath layers of pretense and turns a critical gaze toward the superficial. It should be noted that Venegas does not focus on the unsavoriness of her subjects rather she unconvers moments of tangible realness and underscores the human condition.
True to her overall project of blurring the lines between reality and fiction, Venegas discovered that one of Mexico’s most popular media publications, El Norte, created a socials page geared specifically toward its San Pedro Garza Garcia subscribers. Since 1974, this column has been the primary outlet for the most beloved citizens of San Pedro to engage each other as well as a public they will never meet.
With this body of work Venegas explores ideas of performativity, her camera offering the untouchable residents of San Pedra Garza Garcia an opportunity to perform for a public outside of the city’s well guarded borders. The notion of an inside versus an outside world is important to Venegas for many reasons in light of Mexico’s ongoing predicament with drug cartels and the country’s quest for power and progress. In 2008, at the height of Mexico’s drug violence and social instability, San Pedro Garza Garcia was one of the few cities that was able to protect itself from outside crime. Balancing portraits, clean landscapes, architecture, lesiure activities, ceromonies, and celebrations Venegas penetrates the borders surrounding San Pedro Garza Garcia and its residents.
Yvonne Venegas has had over 16 solo exhibitions world wide. Her work can be found in numerous private and public collections and she has exhibited in museums such as Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey; Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; Museum des Beaux Arts in France, and Bozar Museum in Brussels. Yvonne Venegas lives and works in Mexico City.
For more information please contact Alana Parpal firstname.lastname@example.org
Organising an exhibition can be seen as testing out a hypothesis which can only be presented – and defended – by establishing a convincing relationship between the works it has recourse to. A hypothesis, then, cannot be a clearly formulated theory demanding verification, and even less so a discourse whose lofty sentences are appropriately interconnected by the exhibits. It is either a promising idea still lacking a concept, an intuitive sense of a novel and hopefully fruitful interrelationship, or a group of works one would like to bring together to observe how this juxtaposition changes them.
A dual hypothesis, then: as to what would be (should be?) an exhibition and as to what an exhibition actually does. Since the first part can't be gone into here, let's take a look at the second, with Alain Bublex proposing, in backdrop, to test out a hypothesis in the way mentioned above. To put it briefly: ‘The creation of a “national” political and cultural space most often goes hand in hand with a trend towards representation of its landscapes.’ Or in other words, as soon as a people endows itself with a common future (and invents for itself a shared past), it feels the need to portray what surrounds it and what has preceded it. It then does two things that are only seemingly contradictory: it portrays the irreducible strangeness of these landscapes while at the same time recognising them as its own. Thus a landscape – whether painted or natural – is not solely a visual transformation of the natural environment; it is also an assertion of the strangeness of what is there. One of the works Bublex has opted for in trompe l'oeil form is a landscape by Albert Bierstadt, a painter of the American West and its wilderness. Interestingly, it was Bierstadt's paintings that led Congress to pass the Yellowstone Park Bill in 1872 and so create history's first national park.
Bublex is not trying to say that a pictorial space is also a political space – in itself a truism – but rather that the establishment of a country as a political space involves that country's representation of landscape. And this representation changes with time: the time of history and the time of art. After Bierstadt, backdrop presents pictures by Charles Sheeler and Morris Louis, offering a curious history of American painting from wilderness to Abstract Expressionism. This placing of a Morris Louis picture beside an industrial landscape by Sheeler the modernist speaks eloquently of the intuitive aspect of the hypothesis. The first major style produced by American painting, Abstract Expressionism is, as much as Bierstadt's Rocky Mountains, part of the cultural landscape in question; and a trained eye will not fail to detect in the overlaid strips of colour of Louis's ‘veils', diluted to the point of translucency, the distant heritage of Bierstadt's spectral backdrops: trees and mountains given a strangely ghostly look by the scorching sun rising over his landscapes.
There remains, however, the question of how the hypothesis is actually put to work: of the 'rigging’ (as Bublex calls it) which underpins its structuring, which renders visible an exhibition whose construction has been halted – abandoned or gone to ruin – and which thus refers all the exhibits back to the contingency of their finish. We must not conclude, though, that all landscape is ruin; simply, rather, that it captures and as a result ultimately effaces the strangeness of what is there. ‘Rigging’ – also to be taken here in its nautical sense – consists in making discernible the activities that art presupposes and often conceals; which is also the message conveyed in their own way by the original works Bublex has dotted throughout backdrop: landscape photographs in which a part – a freeway, Mount Fuji, etc. – is reproduced by vectorial drawing, as additions whose obviousness (they in no way interfere with the image) testifies to the familiar artificiality of our surroundings.
Alain Bublex has never stopped making landscapes in a country that has produced none since the end of the Ancien Régime (with some notable exceptions: the ghost of Albert Marquet haunts the exhibition). Republican France took shape without offering any image of itself; which is probably why, today, we find it so hard to look at her without nostalgia.
Giovedì 25 settembre 2014 alle ore 18.30 lo Studio Guenzani inaugurerà una nuova mostra personale dell’artista americana Louise Lawler intitolata No Drones.
Con No Drones, l’artista continua la sua complessa indagine sulle funzioni che l’opera d’arte assume nei contesti in cui viene presentata.
Il forte rigore della composizione e l’equilibrio delle forme, caratterisco delle sue fotografie, emergono ancora più chiaramente in questi ultimi lavori dove la struttura diventa protagonista dell’immagine.
Private del colore e ingrandite di formato in modo da adattarsi allo spazio, le nuove immagini che Louise Lawler ci presenta sono una dimostrazione di quanto possano ancora essere aperte e innovative le modalità di indagine dell’immagine contemporanea.
Le due sale principali della galleria ospitano delle immagini in bianco e nero stampate su vinile e incollate direttamente sulle pareti dello spazio espositivo. I traced works non sono altro che gli outline delle immagini più celebri dell’artista: opere d’arte fotografate nei musei, nelle collezioni private, nelle case d’asta e nei depositi. Per produrre questi lavori Louise Lawler ha lavorato in collaborazione con l’autore di libri per bambini, illustratore e artista Jon Buller con il quale sono state reintepretate molte delle fotografie più famose dell’artista americana.
In mostra saranno presenti anche alcune opere uniche colorate a mano da Louise Lawler.