Thursday, February 19, 2009

Volta Show NY: booth selection

Vicious Vitamins recommends you to visit the following booth:

Arnaug Maguet, La Blanchisserie (Boulogne-Billancourt, France), booth

Using very diversified means, Arnaud Maguet questions the basic aspects of the 1950’s to 1970’s subculture. He starts with music (rock’n’roll, punk, krautrock, hip-hop, free jazz, psychedelic music…), then goes on to Kenneth Anger’s or Andy Warhol’s experimental films, D.I.Y. graphics, underground literature, popular films (and all the letters that categorise them, from B to Z and vice-versa) ; in so doing he calls forth a great many more or less well known legends. These legends have in common a « garage » type of aesthetic – or how, after one has completely and urgently failed to replicate the hoped for model, one chooses to marvel at the result rather than just to make the best of it. Like T.W. Adorno who underscored the “fetishist aspect in music”, Arnaud Maguet’s pieces turn these legends into relics of our collective memory, magnifying or distorting the original fiction. Thus he produces a body of work in which each added element completes the programme of a show that takes shape as it is being performed, creating a record company (Les Disques en Rotin Réunis / United Rattan Records), while at the same time becoming a member of various groups himself (Alpha-60, Beauty and the Beat, the Groovers, Finger On You).

Francisco Valdés, Elaine Lévy Project (Brussels, Belgium)

To frame Francisco Valdés work in a particular style or medium would draw an artificial enclosure around it and miss its inherent heterogeneity; his pieces explore exchanges between dimensions and means of reproduction rather than an explicit theme. Accordingly, unexpected gestures of resurrection, ingenious acts of appropriation, translation between media and explorations of exorcism abound in them.

The artist’s sources are varied too: images taken from eBay, old books, consecrated artworks, Youtube, his personal collection of ghost pictures, and others. All this alludes to Valdés' distrust for unquestioned representations of reality, an attitude that has been described as mixing “suspiciousness towards and flirtation with the double meaning of sophistication”. The works of the show are constructed upon low-resolution images, a primary source that generates a sort of unstable space, eager to be manipulated. At the other end, the final pieces suggest sensations of temporal displacement, sound, and movement, alongside a recursive system of fictions which subverts apparently secure categories such as “prototype”, “original” or “mass produced”.

Alejandro Almanza Pereda, Magnan Projects (New-York, USA)

Possibility takes new direction. The in-your-face approach and raw materials used to create imposing “active” physical structures in his earlier works transitions to a more subtle, contemplative approach. The equilibrium of forces and materials give way to create relationships with objects that create situations in which the viewer is faced with challenges to commonly held perceptions.

At Magnan Emrich Contemporary show in late 2008, Almanza created Out to Lunch (Closed for the day). Addressing ideas of safety measures and codes, the artist wraps and ties chain links into knots creating a huge ball suspended from the ceiling rafters of the gallery. Its’ own weight pushes the chain to its established load limit. Visitors entering the space are confronted with the threatening structure. Will it break from its own weight? Do we trust the safety codes that are imposed on us? Or, does one assume that in a gallery setting it must be safe to walk under or around? Perceptions of danger become individual experiences.

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