Galleria Franco Noero

10154, TORINO

Gabriel Sierra
Subito dopo l’oggetto più distante

28 May — 15 October 2019

Galleria Franco Noero is pleased to present its first solo exhibition by Gabriel Sierra, with a new series of works created for the occasion and shown in the spaces of Via Mottalciata.

The title of the exhibition metaphorically quotes an expression used by astronomers to refer to the distance of the farthest objects so far discovered in the cosmos, also bearing in mind that the universe is constantly expanding. This is one way of capturing and expressing the energy of the moment while also attempting to imagine what comes next, beyond what is already known. It could be said that this is the same driving force that prompts the artist to give material form to the idea of the present, attempting to take the next step and suggesting something that is to be found beyond it, anticipating what is to come.

By analogy, creativity could be defined as a particular human condition that has depended on cosmic archetypes ever since the dawn of civilisation. In addition to this, the production of objects by the artist is a negotiation tactic that uses the language and notions of narration – function – reality.

The group of works conceived for the exhibition, whether newly created or in the form of altered ready-mades, is based on linguistic shifts, inversions, and functional negligence, bringing into question the usual ways of presenting works of art in galleries or museum spaces. It tends instead to deal with quality objects that may be associated with the moment immediately prior to their being “finished” – the moment that is followed by their definitive presentation in the spaces assigned to them, using materials associated with those places.

“The Sun After National Geographic” is an unexpected reversal of plan, and a sort of 180-degree somersault in space and in perception: the plaster elements of a modular false ceiling, arranged in sequence and supported by timber scaffolding of impeccable functionality and design, meet the eye head on rather than from above. They are isolated as a fragment, thus rejecting their usual form as a never-changing, repeated entity, as though they were a private picture of its most immediately recognisable qualities. The side of the panels that is normally hidden from view – in other words, the back – can be seen and is given equal status to the front, doubling the perceptive horizon, and turning back into front.

The constituent elements of a ceiling, and the usual idea we have of it, are transformed from the immaterial and uninterrupted boundary of a casing into an active partition of the volume formed by this casing. The object evades its function and earns a different one, coming as a surprise and transforming what is obvious into something unusual, what is normal into an ambiguous equivalent, and its very definition into something transitory that amplifies its space-time qualities.

“How to control the view of a room any kind of days III”, follows along the same lines, suggesting the unexpected and translating the definitive into the momentary: a large partition wall, of the kind used in museums for temporary exhibitions, rests bizarrely on two pallet trucks placed at each end, as though they were bookends. Although there is no way of being sure that this can actually happen, the two pallet trucks nevertheless suggest that the wall may be mobile, creating an opportunity to constantly subvert our perception and relationship with the volume that surrounds the object, while also making it structurally precarious and indeterminate, like its position.

“Untitled, vitrine (The habitual distance)” attempts to define the boundaries between inside and out: a display case consisting of modules that can be assembled, an iron scaffolding closed by wooden panels on the bottom and top, and by large panels of transparent glass on the sides. It is completely permeable and one can look straight through it. It mimics one of the most common exhibition objects – the display case – but by reluctantly and effectively reducing its constituent elements, it suspends it in an ill-defined temporal limbo, allowing attention to focus on its ambiguous function as a limit. It appears as a shifty, defective element, in the state in which it might perhaps have appeared just before the opening of an exhibition.

Elements on a smaller scale but of equal importance are carefully juxtaposed with others throughout the exhibition. The traditional doughnut-shaped slide carousels of a pair of Kodak projectors placed on folding tables are replaced by onyx elements that are identical in terms of shape but quite different in their material, weight and in the age to which they belong. Tautologically, the image projected on the wall, which is generated by immaterial light, is a photograph of the visible face of the onyx, suggesting something familiar and yet from an unknown universe.

There is also something mysterious about the marble blocks, from a geologically distant age, that are dotted around the various rooms of the gallery. The sides, which are not smoothed, give an idea of solid weight, while the polished upper surface conceals a texture that is far removed from the more or less narrow veining of the stone blocks. As on a branded product, blocks of letters spell out “Made in Jupiter”. This is a paradox and a linguistic discrepancy that once again mediates between our habit of reading the origin of products and a place that is totally improbable, cosmically unknown, and distant, from which the stones may have come to us, or from where they may one day arrive in future.

The idea behind “La apertura del cubo”, the only video work in the exhibition, came from a performance that Sierra never put on, in which he planned to break through a window into the building that was to host an exhibition of his. After eating a cube of jelly containing the key to the building, he was going to open the front door and let the visitors in, starting the private viewing.
Contrary to what was planned, the 16-mm video also plays on a double register, playing on the two conflicting qualities of the jelly – quivering but solid, and always on the verge of breaking, transparent but glutinous, with a key trapped inside its solid mass. In the video, the block of jelly is shown on a white plastic tray, at first moved slowly and gingerly by the artist’s hands but then more vigorously, until the mass looks as though it is about to break, at which point the image fades away.

Gabriel Sierra (San Juan Nepomuceno, 1975) lives and works in Bogotá, Colombia. His work has been shown in important solo exhibitions, including The First Impressions of the Year 2018 (During the early days of the year 2017), secession, Vienna, Austria (2017); Before Present, Kunsthalle Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland (2015); Numbers in a Room, Sculpture Center, New York, USA (2015); The Renaissance Society, Chi- cago, USA (2015); Thus Far, Peephole, Milan, Italy (2013); ( ), Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, USA (2012); Compuesto Verde (stepmothernature-series), Centre d’Art Contemporain de Brétigny, Brétigny-sur-Orge, France (2006). Group exhibitions include Latinoámerica: volver al futuro, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (Malba), Argentina (2018); Spaces Without Drama or Surface is an Illusion, But So Is Depth, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago, USA (2017); Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today, South London Gallery, London, UK (2016); El Orden Natural de las Cosas, Museo Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico (2016); United States of Latin America, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), USA (2015); Panorama, High Line Art, New York, USA (2015); MetaModern, Krannert Art Museum, Illinois, USA (2015); Do Objeto para o Mundo – Coleção Inhotim, Itaú Cultural, São Paulo, Brazil (2015); Transformação e Arte, Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil (CCBB), Brasilia, Brazil (2015); Under the Same Sun, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA (2014); do it outside, Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, USA (2014); Ways of Working: the incidental object, Fondazione Merz, Turin, Italy (2013); Block, Pillar, Slab, Beam, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, USA (2012); Living Under the Same Roof, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, USA (2010); 31o Panorama da Arte Brasileira’, Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM), São Paulo, Brazil (2009). His work has been shown in many international group exhibitions, including 2013 Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, USA; 9th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China (2012); 2012 New Museum Triennial: The Ungovernables, New York, USA; 12th Istanbul Biennial, Instabul, Turkey (2011); 11e Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, France (2011); 28a Bienal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, (2008); 7a Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2007).

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