El Exploratorio: Zona I—Beyond the Limits and the Processes of Creation
Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Gallery A & 1/2 B
Long Beach, CA
April 21—July 29, 2018
Over the course of human evolution, technological and scientific innovation has played a fundamental role in aesthetic development. Aristotle referred to art as techne, the practical skills and knowledge necessary for humans to create, with the potential of establishing new realities never before imagined. Leonardo da Vinci conceptualized, designed and built various objects and devices where art, science, and mechanical advancements converged, branding him a genius ahead of his time and creating a blueprint for the humanist ideal of the Renaissance. A Neo-Renaissance began in the mid-20th century and continues today—with more visibility than ever—as we turn to science and technology to identify new forms of expression.
This investigation of hybridity, reproduction, fragmentation and appropriation is accepted as standard practice in various arenas but how does this translate in the creative field? Exploratorio examines how contemporary artists not only reflect on or become inspired by scientific and technological improvements, but utilize these advancements as tools in developing new aesthetic discourses, processes, and creative practice.
Participating artists included Radamés Ajna (Brazil, b. 1985) and Thiago Hersan (Brazil, b. 1981), who utilize technology as a platform for experimentation with ideas, human and machine based interaction and public spaces. Here they present two interfacing cell phones in memememe. Cristian Castro (Argentina, b. 1971), a self-taught industrial designer and artist, de-constructs a Volkswagen Beetle and recreates its parts in the form of a crab. Lina Espinosa (Colombia, b. 1964) presents bacteria prints that center on the intersection of art, biology and cartography.
Los Angeles-based Linda Vallejo (US, b. 1951) fuses art traditions and processes gathered from global sources with ‘objective’ information and cultural observation to investigate contemporary cultural and political issues. Works from her Datos Sagrados / Sacred Data series transform demographic information into patterns and grids. By synthesizing European systems and formulas with ancient indigenous and Eastern forms, she creates a unique language that translates the reality of Latinos in the US into abstract compositions.
The exhibition also included one commissioned work by Aníbal Catalán (Mexico, b. 1973) based on futuristic Russian Constructivist aircraft design. Other artists including William Pérez (Cuba, b. 1965), Mabel Poblet (Cuba, b. 1986), and Jimena Sarno (Argentina, b. 1971) further explore ideas of perspective, fragmentation, and re-engineering forms and narratives.
Science and Art Converge in MOLAA’s EL EXPLORATORIO: ZONA 1, Long Beach Post, by Asia Morris, Long Beach, CA, April 25, 2018