Critics’ Picks

Hector Zamora, Reductio Ad Absurdum, 2012, 1976 ALJO travel trailer, thiry-two tons of fragmented rock and sand native to Arizona, dimensions variable.


Héctor Zamora

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
7374 East Second Street
October 27 - January 27

One year ago Brazilian architect Héctor Zamora embarked on an Arizona camping trip with the aim of probing a situation he considered paradoxical: the intersection of poverty and militarism in Phoenix, home to one of the nation’s most crestfallen housing markets. Setting off into deserted developments within sprawling peripheries, he, by chance, pitched a tent inside the parameters of an Air Force bombing range and awoke to target practice as missiles tore up nearby hillsides. His subsequent US debut evokes that edgy occurrence as well as uneasy economic conditions by staging two self-proclaimed “radical scenarios” operating like stress tests.

The exhibition begins with Reductio Ad Absurdum, 2012, a mega-installation comprising thirty tons of pulverized red rock, which spills out from windows of a road-worn 1970s RV to circumscribe the allegorical vehicle within rusty dunes of antipodal pay dirt. Its title alone makes a wry play on Aristotle’s nascent idea about denial yielding absurdity, as does a preface to the exhibition, inscribed over a sagging floor: BURIED UNDER THE WEIGHT OF ITS OWN DISINTEGRATION. Hosted in a separate space, a hangar next to the runway at Sky Harbor International Airport, is OG-107 Scenery, 2012. Seventeen parachutes, evoking those from the Vietnam War, have been hung from the ceiling of the building, which is in sight and earshot of a launching point for F-16 jets. High-powered fans beneath aerate the exhibition space here in order to simulate the terrifying thrills and vast emptiness of a paratrooper’s heroic or sacrificial fall through the atmosphere.