Don’t expect to see traditional art forms when you visit the new exhibition that opened September 8, 2011, at the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation’s Art Space in Miami’s Park West neighborhood.
CIFO commissioned works of art from eight emerging and mid-career Latin American artists working with diverse objects and media for its eighth annual grants and commissions program.
The title of this exhibition, Viewpoint, reflects the artists’ efforts to provide wry commentary on contemporary life. Some succeeded better than others.
My personal favorite is If these walls could talk #1, 2010, by Argentinian artist Amalia Pica, an installation based on the tin-can telephones that children make. In this work, with multiple cans and strings running at odd angles between two walls, finding a pair that match is well-nigh impossible – a moving statement about communication in the modern world.
Brazil’s Laura Belém displays Jardim de Esculturas I (Sculpture Garden I), 2011, which consists of plastic straws bent into various shapes resembling Modernist sculptures, arrayed against a sparkling white background of powered marble.
Marcius Galan, also from Brazil, created Seção Diagonal (Diagonal section), a space in which lights and framing suggest windows that don’t exist. Walking into it isn’t particularly eventful, but when you stand aside and watch others wander around inside, the optical illusion of people penetrating a glass window is particularly intense.
Almost, but not quite
A couple of the artists had good ideas that were difficult to realize and didn’t quite capture their intent.
Begoña Morales from Peru installed Canció de mi edificio (My Building Song). She recorded the sounds of her apartment building and hung speakers from the gallery’s ceiling to create an audio image of the space. “Viewers” stand under the speakers to listen, but visualizing what is being heard and placing it spatially in one’s mind can be difficult.
Antonio Vega of Mexico describes his work, Murmullos (Murmurs) as an “intervention on newspapers.” He posted 14 pages of the El Sol newspaper on a wall, with church kneeling pads on the floor below. On the pages he wrote conjugations of the verb murmullo in anamorphic drawings, which can be seen only from a certain angle. You must kneel on a pad and press your face against the wall, a position characteristic of prayer or preparing for an execution. The concept is powerful, but most of the people at the opening who attempted to see the writing did not succeed.
The show will be on display through November 6.
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