Chicago

View of “José Santiago Pérez,” 2020.

View of “José Santiago Pérez,” 2020.

José Santiago Pérez

Roman Susan

One of the most common and simple of functional objects, the basket offers a gathering. Its usefulness relies on its ability to keep its contents together. José Santiago Pérez’s compact sculptures of this form appear to have unraveled and ruptured. They seem able to hold nothing. The coiled fiber basket has been an ongoing concern for Pérez, who sees it as a repository of millennia-old traditions and as an ongoing but often overlooked contemporary craft practice. Historically, its fabrication has involved wrapping long grasses and rushes into spirals, layers of which are bound together to progressively build a spherical volume. Pérez adopts this process but swaps out plants for plastics, which, like baskets, are frequently disregarded and considered cheap or mundane. Yet plastic, too, has ancient roots, given the subterranean materials, such as crude oil, from which it can be made.

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