Press Release of the Exhibition
Nov 23rd > Jan 5th 2007
This his autumn Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art presents a new exhibition of João Onofre’s work. The show will open to the public on Thursday, November 22nd and will be on view through January 5th. Two live performances with the Death Metal band Sacred Sin will open and close the show.
In this exhibition João Onofre will be bringing together a series of new drawings on paper, the video ‘Untitled Version (I See a Darkness)’ as well as a massive steel sculpture, especially conceived for the gallery, titled ‘Box sized DIE featuring Sacred Sin’, all from 2007.
Working in array of mediums, this show reflects the artist’s involvement with things that are resistant, his interest in the effects of physical situations on people, such as the uncomfortable and oppressive feeling of being confined, and his pursuit of irreversible, closed systems where the process of entropy and degradation is accelerated, and where the tension of breakdown, decomposition and disintegration is eminently foregrounded.
In his tautological, minimal drawings Untitled (red running dry), Untitled (purple running dry), Untitle (gold running dry) etc. Onofre painstakingly fills in the letters of each sentence with markers that eventually dry out. As previously stated, with this series, initiated in 2005, we witness the artist’s extensive study of signs of disintegration, but also his use of forms, a use that is intended as a means of breaking up, rather than affirming unity. The show also features drawings that depart from Alighiero Boetti’s use of language as both sign, signifier and material form. Drawn with Swarovski crystal, an unlikely material to historical art povera and conceptual art practices, Onofre’s blingy sentence, rather than promise, atonement and change reads the promise of catastrophe.
‘Box sized DIE featuring Sacred Sin’, one of or the exhibition’s centrepiece, stands as an appropriation of American sculptor, Tony Smith’s 1962 abstract piece ‘Die’. Onofre takes the form of one of Smith’s most fundamental structures, his six-foot metal cube, its potentially polysemic title and the historic accusations of ‘hidden threatricality’ to literalize them. He does this by placing the four-part, Portuguese Death/Black metal band playing inside a sound-proof reproduction of Smith’s modular cell. Unable to calculate the exact duration of the performance, which is determined by how long the band members withstand being trapped with a limited air supply, ‘Box sized DIE featuring Sacred Sin’, with the muffled sound that comes from its interior, raises the hidden the unheimlich resonances of Smith’s iconical minimalist cube. As such, Onofre animates an apparently inanimate, hard-edged object, making the sculpture a palpable experience – one of entrapment and death, claustrophobia and asphyxiation.
Similarly, the video ‘Untitled Version (I See a Darkness)’ also presents a state of flux that is registered in the progressive shift from darkness to blinding brightness. Here the artist has two schoolchildren performing Will Oldham’s tune, popularised by Johnny Cash, in a recording studio. In the video, “darkness” tautologically appears as per the song’s title. Delivered with passion and focus, Onofre, in tandem with the tautological certainty that consistently defines his work, reinvests the cover version as a consistent means of appropriation. ND
Since graduating from Goldsmith’s College in 1999 João Onofre has emerged as a one of the most compelling artists of his generation. His trajectory includes several one-man shows that include P.S.1, New York (2002); Kunsthalle Wien Project Space, Vienna (2003); the Chiado Museum, Lisbon (2003); Centro Galego de Arte Contempoanea, Santiago de Compostela; (2003) Magazine 4, Bregenz (2004) as well as many European and American group exhibitions.
Press Release of the Exhibition
Opening: Thursday 25 October 2007, 10 pm
26 October – 17 November 2007
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art is pleased to present BIG BANG, a solo exhibition featuring two new installations and bi-dimensional works by João Louro.
João Louro is widely regarded as a leading artist of his generation. Best known for his BLIND IMAGES and DEAD ENDS, Louro idiosyncratically gathers together references culled from popular media alongside the work of radical theorists, either under the sleek, opaque surfaces of his BLIND IMAGES or on the large-scale, rhizomatic, grass roots traffic signs that constitute his series of DEAD ENDS.
Over the past two decades, João Louro has defined several journeys, or better yet, the idea of journey and navigation, not from one productive or evolutional point to another, but along alternative, secondary roads, detours, forgotten paths and “cul-de-sacs” as one of the many defining subjects of his work. This time round, Louro has defined another impossible journey as the theme for his show: an expedition by car to the beginning or origin of all things, one that ends in chaos.
The routes Louro proposes are never clear or linear, but rather somewhat labyrinthine, paths of flight from vertical order and prescription. It is never clear what his passengers can expect at the next turn – the journey is unpredictable – what awaits us at the next stop. The road is long and winding, and the one we have chosen to travel in the company of the artist is no exception. One senses from the back seat, from our view onto the desolate landscape, the exhilaration that radiates from the artist in his driver’s seat, his excitement at the roaring engine of his chosen vehicle, his obsession with this lost highway.
Louro, a blind runner, has no fear of speed. He steps down on the accelerator and concentrates on the road ahead. All of a sudden, our driver looses control. The car screeches, careers out of control and grins against the rails, spinning. By some miracle, we come to a halt. As we pry ourselves from this twisted wreck, a sense of a new beginning, of new life, flushes over us. This is what feeds and pumps through the veins of this strange creature, the daredevil, the Hollywood stuntman, the suburban racer x-type who whizzes around the parking lot in his domestic vehicle: the possibility of return.
Working directly in the space at Cristina Guerra Gallery, João Louro will recreate the “mise en scène” of a fresh accident, presenting the wreckage of a crash and brutalised rails together with the fractured images or flashes of an ordered universe.
João Louro has exhibited in Europe and the US. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Blind Runner’, Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon (2004); and Play, Rec and Pause, Christopher Grimes, Santa Monica (2006); and the group shows ‘InSite ’05 – Art Practices in The Public Domain’, S. Diego and Tijuana (2005), the 51st Venice Biennial, Venice (2005).
‘Blind Runner: An Artist Under Surveillance’ is a documentary on the artist by director Luís Alves de Matos will premiere in DOCLISBOA on Friday, October 26th at 6.30pm. The screening will take place in the large auditorium of Culturgest (Rua Arco do Cego, Lisbon).
For further information kindly contact [firstname.lastname@example.org] [+351 213 959 559]
Press Release of the Exhibition
curated by Jens Hoffmann
Sep 21st > Oct 20th 2007
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art is pleased to present FOR SALE, an exhibition curated by Jens Hoffmann with works by Art & Language, Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Tauba Auerbach, John Baldessari, Daniel Buren, Arabella Campbell, Maria Eichhorn, Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Ceal Floyer, Andrea Fraser & Jeff Preiss, Ryan Gander, Jordan Kantor, John Knight, Louise Lawler, Tim Lee, Renata Lucas, Shana Lutker, Kris Martin, Jonathan Monk, Roman Ondák, Raymond Pettibon, Tino Sehgal, Andreas Slominski, Ron Terada, Mario Garcia Torres, and Carey Young. Prompted by the need to engage and address location in his curatorial work—in this case, that of the gallery — this gathering of around thirty international artists presents instances where the status of the artwork and its display in a commercial setting is conceptualized and foregrounded.
Sentient of the reality of a booming art market, the multiplicity of roles within the art world and their conflicted and at times elusive relations (artists, dealers, collectors and curators) Jens Hoffmann has aimed to critically reflect on his position within this domain and to provide the opportunity for artists to do so as well by inviting them to create or participate with artworks that investigate and address the fact that they are up for sale and displayed in a commercial gallery context. Crucially, none of the works in the exhibition can be bought individually and the show can only be acquired as a whole. This fact underlines the focus of FOR SALE, as the commercial enterprise of a for-profit gallery, but it also obstructs the eventual purchase of the art works—it is clearly more expensive and far more complex to acquire a whole show rather than an individual work. While seemingly completely embracing the commercial aspect of the gallery, FOR SALE in fact tries to obstruct routine business. Questions that the exhibition raises range from an investigation into the relationship of artists, dealers and collectors and the changing status of an artwork during its move from an artist’s studio into a gallery, to the undecided relationship between curators and the commercial art world.
Press Release of the Exhibition
Jun 29 > Jul 28 2007
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art is pleased to present Landscape Negative, Sabine Hornig’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.
From the inception of her work in the late 1990s, Sabine Horning has engaged in exploring specific spatial and perspectival concerns and the blurring of the distinctions between two-dimensional and three-dimensional space. Employing photography and sculpture in equal measure throughout her practice, Hornig supports and expands each of these mediums by cross-referencing one with the other.
For her debut with the gallery in Lisbon, Hornig will be presenting one of her preferred subjects, a series of large, colour photographs of barren or abandoned shop windows, where she conflates issues of site and sight, and a new sculpture of a folding screen depicting a colour negative image of a waste landscape.
For Sabine Hornig, the window represents a basic, transparent, grid-like system that incorporates her ideas on the gaze, view and perspective, which oscillate between image and sculpture. Hornig finds the windows she uses in her photographs incidentally in modern cities, mostly in Berlin. Intentionally made visible or invisible, the window functions as a prevalent frame that contains certain flows, a certain motility between interior and exterior, public and private, transparency and distortion, open and closed space, and associated with this last pairing of terms, flight and confinement. Through her activity of foregrounding the transparency (rather than the transparentness) of the palimpsestual threshold of the glass/window in her photographs, Hornig obliges us to become aware of glass (by means of Plexiglas) as a complex structure, a responsive surface and the window as a doubling boundary.
In the recent suite of photographs of vacant shop windows, the artist not only expands on our awareness of the optics of the window as a sill, but raises these abandoned commercial spaces from their state of quiescent limbo to places where, in their emptiness, we are given reign to imagine past identity and future existence, where our emotions swing between melancholy and hope in the face of our ever-changing, mutant cities.
In this special series now on view in the gallery, Hornig provides her viewers once more with glances of interiors from outside on the street. In these windows however, the interiors, walls and floors oscillate between varying degrees of demolition and reconstruction; the bricks lie bare in the background of what was once a clean constructed display window. In these pictures, Hornig foregrounds how something has been brutally stripped or cleared away from these sites. What is now given is a dark burrow (‘Window with No Floor’, ‘Window with No Back Wall’) where the constructiveness and sharp angles of the architecture dissolves and merges with a landscape of urban wilderness, a city that superimposes itself as a reflection in the glass. Added to this reflection are the interiors of high contrast. Simultaneously very dark and very bright, the sources of light and dark seem to interact and permeate each other, suggesting the transition between day and night.
The sculptural work displayed in the main gallery is also about inversion. Hornig will show a 5-part folding screen with a landscape which appears on closer inspection to be that of a waste site. The image, being a negative, turns the forms that punctuate this horizon into something abstract: the plastic into rock-like formations, or what may come across as a vibrant, fascinating, brazenly highlighted heap of consumer vegetation.
Refuse, the mangled by-product of civilisation, is an invaluable source of information on the intimate habits, behaviour and status of people, whom artists have sought to unearth and read as text throughout time. Sabine Hornig is no exception. For her, the dross resulting from the systematic plundering and wasting of the earth’s resources stands as a mirror for consumer society to examine and admire itself. As such, rather than depict a lavish and appeasing scene of nature undisturbed, Hornig presents jettisoned materials in hues of gold that play with the eye. Dangerous and fascinating, apocalyptical and seductive, beautiful and unsightly, Hornig’s waste landscapes are a staggering reminder of the human and creative conditions: progress and abandonment, creation and waste, and an ultimately doubled perspective of beauty and the uncanny.
Sabine Hornig received her BA and MFA from the Hochschule der Kuenste in Berlin. Hornig was the recipient of the Karl Schmidt-Ruttholf Stipendum in 1998, among other awards, and from 1999-2000 was a participating artist in the P.S.1 International Studio Program in New York. Hornig’s work has been featured in several major exhibitions, most recently “ Made in Germany”, Kestner Gesellschaft, Hanover, 2007 (group), Reality Bites, Mildred Lane Lemper Art Museum, St. Louis, USA, 2007 (group); Constructing New Berlin, Bass Museum Miami, 2007 (group); The Second Room, Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, 2005 (solo); Beyond Delirious: Architecture in Selected Photographs from the Ella Fontanals Collection, Ella Fontanals Cisneros Collection, Miami, 2005 (group); Colección de Fotografía Contemporánea de Telefónica, Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo, Spain, 2005 (group); and Projects 78, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2003 (solo), among others.
Press Release of the Exhibition
T FOR TORNADO
May 23 > Jun 23rd
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Rui Toscano, the artist’s third one-man show at the gallery.
Titled T for Tornado, the selection of works on display result in a genealogy, not of replication, but of furtherance and reworking of the artist’s sculptural vocabulary, where he willingly experiments with the lexicon of minimalism to employ some of his hallmark materials: boomboxes, antennas and sound.
The video installation which lends its title to the exhibition, encountered on entering the gallery, clearly evokes the memory of one of the artist’s earlier sculptures, an elemental “self-portrait” from 1998, titled T. In this seminal piece, the letter T - the first to the artist’s last name - was shaped by borrowing one of minimalism’s forms: two large, black rectangular parallelepipeds. By calculating the sculpture to his exact height, Toscano seems to have been taking Michael Fried’s criticism of literalist, i.e., minimal art word for word. Toscano’s sculpture was intentionally anthropomorphic, it was hollow and foregrounded the space that both it and the viewer occupied; it persisted in time, coming from the fact that a radio, placed in the top horizontal section of the piece, emitted the artist’s deadpan delivery of the letter T at intervals of 14 seconds, slowly yielding a presence, rather than the modernist presentness.
T for Tornado, one of the exhibition’s central pieces, exhorts viewer complicity: the memory of the aforementioned piece, but also our capacity to stand in an indeterminate, open-ended and unexacting relation to the projection. The video presents two intersecting images of the artist rotating, one forming a vertical line, the other a horizontal line, which together form the shape of a T. In this piece, Toscano places the loop at the centre of the work’s structure, the endless repetition of a same action that ultimately results in a sense of stasis. Two rhythms punctuate the piece: one of acceleration, where the artist’s image becomes increasingly indistinct, one of deceleration, where the stiff figure progressively returns to view. The work thus uses circular motion that is without a destination, having no beginning or end, no narrative, no apparent outcome or telos. Like his sculpture, this video “occupies” physical space and involves the viewer in its ceaseless circularity, inducing what some may feel as a hypnotic, disconcerting effect.
The show includes Light Corner, 2006, an installation comprised of 9 boom boxes assembled in three lines from a right-angle corner, where each radio plays a tape recorded with the sound of matches being lit, and Wave Field, 2007, a sculpture comprised of various antennas, constructed, as always, as a tautology. A selection of drawings by the artist can be viewed on request.
Press Release of the Exhibition
'The die is cast'
Apr 13th > May 12th
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by American artist, Lawrence Weiner, the artist’s third with the gallery.
Born in the Bronx, New York, in 1942, Lawrence Weiner is considered to be one of the most significant artists of our time.
Since the late sixties, he has worked exclusively with language, placing it at the service of his conception of art as the objective relationship between human beings and objects and the connections between objects and other objects. In his sculptural practice, he has consistently held to the premises articulated in his ‘Statement of Intent’:
1. THE ARTIST MAY CONSTRUCT THE PIECE
2. THE PIECE MAY BE FABRICATED
3. THE PIECE NEED NOT BE BUILT
(EACH BEING EQUAL & CONSISTENT WITH THE INTENT OF THE ARTIST, THE DECISION AS TO CONDITION RESTS WITH THE RECEIVER UPON THE OCCASION OF RECEIVERSHIP).
As Weiner himself has emphasized on multiple occasions, his work is designed to be translated, either into the physical form or other languages. For this show in Lisbon, Weiner will be debuting a suite of statements formulated in English and then translated to the Portuguese. In this particular instance, these statements will be carried in the form of vinyl pieces, which physically articulate with the gallery.
In Lawrence Weiner’s work, the word ‘statement’, initially borrowed from American Express type of bills sent out to clients by mail detailing expenses accrued over a month, essentially refers to the record of an activity. Remotely interested in exploring the word’s association with bookkeeping, the idea of drawing up an account, it is rather the idea of the statement as a necessary and sufficient condition, an empirical reality which is neither an expression of intent nor a description or prescription that is of consequence to the artist’s work. An analysis of his statements, like the one undertaken by Birgit Pelzer in the October journal, is indicative of how they are structured to be non-evaluative and non-prescriptive. As Pelzer points out, although they include verbs, no single verb fixes the propositional content by linking the subject to the predicate. “A state of things is recorded, but without being fixed in a definition, a judgement, a causal deduction, an imperative. We are in the presence not of sentences but of distinct units of meaning. The absence of punctuation further reinforces the short, incomplete, suspended character of this form of writing”.
For the exhibition at the gallery, entitled THE DIE HAS BEEN CAST, Weiner has designed an bilingual installation where the written word not only appears spread on the wall, but settles like dust on the ground. The statements appear to be an examination of materials, processes or states of preservation and the passage of time.
Although Weiner himself emphasizes that language is not the issue in his work, the act of translation brings about a number of compelling realizations of which this exhibition is an instance. Translation, for Weiner, brings about the reduction of the universality of things, or as he once affirmed in an interview, “the lack of specific idioms for translation from one language to another requires the utilization of grey in a subject that is often thought to be black and white (art)”. Translation also brings the issue of the double meaning of material words to the fore. “When you translate from one language to another, the work changes, generally. But it doesn’t really – it changes specifically, but you get a general ambiguous feeling about the work. That’s the kind of feeling about the work that I’m dealing with”.
Press Release of the Exhibition
Mar 2nd > 31st 2007
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by José Loureiro. For this solo exhibition at the Gallery, the artist will be exhibiting nine new paintings.
For more than a decade, José Loureiro has given preference to the pursuit of a rigorous pictorial strategy, which modifies the aesthetic of pure form, in this instance of the grid, with an element of imprecision and uncertainty, a hesitancy or reverberation of the line, which appears blurred, fuzzy, somehow unfinished or flawed, disappearing or receding, or ghostly emerging, depending on one’s perspective. This indefiniteness, this optical scintillation provided by the artist’s loose touch, charges the painting with an emotion and an engaging painterly energy.
Loureiro occupies himself intensely with the material substratum of the picture – the impressive range of greys in these new works, the paint surface, forms and general structure of the grid do not sit tightly, stably composed according to hierarchy, but are rather animated, disruptive and spreading. In this exhibition, the artist has also strived to provide his viewers with large canvases, which are devoid of any single, prime vantage point, hinting to expansion out of the frame. The sheer size of some of these works, their monumentality, makes the relationship between the painting and the viewer one that is highly enveloping, experiential and rewarding. ND
Press Release of the Exhibition
Jan 12th > Feb 24th 2007
For his first solo exhibition at the gallery, Erwin Wurm will be presenting a selection of recent sculptures that critique the formalist legacy of modernism together with a series of recent colour photographs documented in one of the artist’s latest catalogues, published on the occasion of the travelling exhibition ‘The artist who swallowed the world’.
Born in 1954 in Bruck an de Mur, Austria, Erwin Wurm possesses an extensive, multi-layered oeuvre that resists chronological intervention. The themes he explores are not adopted with the intention of resolve but rather one of provisional attention, insistent questioning and furthering, which often means that groups of work re-emerge, issues are re-launched from different prisms, questions converge or overlap. Despite the shifting, multimedial nature of his work, the crux of his ongoing enquiry is that of sculpture, what defines and constitutes it, much in the wake of the form and anti-form discussion of the mid-60s. To this effect, Wurm is consistently drawn to the issues of classical sculptural conventions and the rigidity of medium-specificity, which he undermines through his integration of found objects, his welcoming of mutation, deformation, failure and the every day, his appeal to audience participation and his inclusion of photography and video into this rich sphere of concerns.
In the case of this exhibition, Erwin Wurm will be showing two of his most recent sculptures, ‘The artist who swallowed the world’ and ‘The artist who swallowed the world when it was still a disc’. In the case of the two pieces, Wurm reemploys the theme of absurd over-indulgence, this time round, that of the insatiable, travelling, world-famous, self-important and self-absorbed artist who has swallowed the world in two distinct forms. For the obsessive artist, contentment does not come with artistic aspiration but global projection. Once that has been attained, the next step is ingestion, the mouthing of the planet as a final symbolic act of dominance. Left immobile and probably in need of something for the heartburn, this life-size sculpture is a self-critical caricature that presents the growing, self-absorbed artist as a menace to himself and the world. Both of these sculptures bespeak man’s blind faith in science. Wurm’s pieces hark back to the controversy in the Middle Ages when some argued that the world was flat and others that it was round. For Wurm, the world can have more than one reality.
Together with these two pieces, the artist will also be presenting several examples of his melting buildings. In the case of ‘Guggenheim Melting’, Wurm collapses the pure geometry of a model of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture by “melting it”. In doing so, he reassess the role of certain conditions in sculpture (and architecture), countering the classical pure, durable forms of modernism to include dissolve, softness and the force of gravity (through spreading) as added sculptural, hence architectural, values.
A photographic series with Eames and Prouvé designer furniture, together with other classical pieces, which now function as icons will also be on view in the gallery. In this series, Wurm explores the acts of crushing, squashing and squeezing of objects under these chairs and tables as a means of drawing the absurd (a site which has been excluded from the discourse of modernism) and the everyday into the haughty sphere of these designer pieces. In the case of ‘Venetian Baroque’, Wurm places a low-class food, the ham sandwich, peppered with thin slices of pickle, beneath the weight of the console table’s carved legs. In the aforementioned catalogue, he reveals that he was “thinking about food and the role of still life painting, especially [in] the Northern Renaissance and the Baroque” on realizing this piece. Erwin Wurm seeks to de-sanctify these objects by removing them from their place of reverence and ritual into the sphere of the everyday of use and play, searching a new life for them, a new attitude towards their existence in our society. ND
The artist will be present during the opening reception.