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Asya Geisberg Gallery: SALVAJES - Curated by Guillermo Creus - 15 Sept 2011 to 22 Oct 2011

Current Exhibition

15 Sept 2011 to 22 Oct 2011
Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 6pm
Opening Reception: Thursday September 15, 6 - 9pm
Asya Geisberg Gallery
537B West 23rd Street
New York, NY
New York
North America
T: +1 (212) 675-7525

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Artists in this exhibition: Alberto Borea, Florencia Escudero, Ricardo Gonzalez, Claudia Joskowicz, Irvin Morazan, Meyer Vaisman, Carlos Vela-Prado, Manuela Viera-Gallo


Opening Reception: Thursday September 15, 6 - 9 pm

Alberto Borea, Florencia Escudero, Ricardo Gonzalez, Claudia Joskowicz, Irvin Morazan, Meyer Vaisman, Carlos Vela-Prado, Manuela Viera-Gallo.

Curated by Guillermo Creus.

September 15 - October 22, 2011
Performance by Irvin Morazan: Friday September 30, 7 pm

Toda Latinoamérica está sembrada con los huesos de jóvenes olvidados. --- Roberto Bolaño, Rómulo Gallegos prize speech, 1999.

Asya Geisberg Gallery is pleased to present "Salvajes", an exhibition curated by Guillermo Creus, with Alberto Borea, Florencia Escudero, Ricardo Gonzalez, Claudia Joskowicz, Irvin Morazan, Meyer Vaisman, Carlos Vela-Prado, and Manuela Viera-Gallo.

Inspired by the lyrical, political and metaphorical themes in the writing of Roberto Bolaño as well as by his imaginative virtuosity, this exhibition conceptually aligns the Chilean writer's characters and motifs with the works of eight contemporary Latin American artists. Drawing parallels between these artists and Bolaño's persona as a nomadic writer, "Salvajes" intends to be Latin American in its essence, and universal in its language.

The title of the exhibition, "Salvajes" (savages), refers to one of Bolaño's most important novels, Los Detectives Salvajes, and to the stereotypical image of Latin Americans as the uncivilized. We are savages as a result of the long history of violence, deprivation, and exploitation that the continent has experienced since its origins, more perceptible through the recent dictatorships, and colonial, cultural and economic policies suffered right and left, north and south. "Salvajes" refers also to the perception of the role of the artist in society, regardless of their origin. The artist's struggle against the imperative to create and the ever-gnawing and sometimes maddening demand to make art are some of Bolaño's larger subjects.

As in much of Bolaño's oeuvre, the works in this exhibition deal with a notion of emptiness and chaos, and indirectly reference the darkness of Latin-American youth and the wittiness that comes from their rebellious cultural history. Just as Bolaño found ways to make the political integral to his novels without ever making them into political novels, these artists, without being explicit, reference historical facts and characters and draw from personal memory to devise theories and practices which reference a general political stance, even if often these are nuances in the work's overall concept. While many of the artists allude to their personal histories of permanent migration and cultural itinerancy, all either speak about or find inspiration in their place of "origin".

"How do you recognize a work of art? How can it be kept apart, even if only for a moment, from its critics, commentators, its indefatigable plagiarists, its defacers and its final destiny in solitude?" Bolaño asks in an essay from the 2004 book Entre Paréntesis. He goes on to answer: "Simple - just translate it." The artists in Salvajes bring to a New York audience a seamless translation of their Latin American origins into a universal, contemporary and experimental visual language.

-- Guillermo Creus, 2011.

Alberto Borea is attracted to the residues of civilization and culture. As he states: "I am interested in the relation between different cultures and histories, between the so-called center and its periphery." This position of distance in relation to cultural, economic and social events constitutes an important part of his creative process.

Florencia Escudero is an Argentinian artist, but the many places she has lived and traveled have deeply impacted her work. As she recalls: "Every three years or so I have moved to a different location. Much of my work deals with the metaphor of travel. I want to discover the "chronotope" (M.M. Bakhtin's definition of time and space) of my life through objects." A key factor in her work is obsession with the material itself.

Ricardo Gonzalez's paintings evoke a sense of spontaneity that conveys raw emotionalism. Their gestures are made with a combination of selectivity and abandon. The characters in his paintings are sourced from photos from old Mexican yellow press magazines and explore the psychological and physical spaces between description and invention, representation and abstraction. As the artists explains: "The fleeting moments of pleasure and joy that these characters experience in these paintings are enveloped by their ultimately tragic existence."

Claudia Joskowicz's videos focus on the lapses in narrative that are formed when texts or events are taken out of their original context and represented through popular media. Centering on subtle shifts in meaning or sensibility, it attempts to disrupt what is considered the normal viewing experience of film and television by altering both its spatial and narrative elements. Claudia explains: "On the whole, my work addresses the way technology mediates and redefines concepts like history, truth, memory, and reality."

Irvin Morazan's work intertwines his indigenous ancestry with New York City subcultures. In consequence his sculptural pieces and live performances are often hybrid rituals that intend to cross the physical and metaphysical line even when they fail at it. Morazan states: "I merge old tribal traditions with urban street aesthetics to create new personas that blur the boundaries of stereotypes."

Meyer Vaisman is an influential artist of the 1980-90s New York art scenes, and together with Ashley Bickerton, Jeff Koons, and Peter Halley known as the 'Fantastic Four'. Born in 1960 in Venezuela to Romanian-Ukranian Jewish parents, he brings a cross-generational aspect to this exhibition, as a pioneer Latin-American artist that reached the New York art establishment "from inside".

Carlos Vela-Prado's work speaks of a desire to reconcile with cultural rifts disrupted by a dystopian personal history. As he defines it: "Intimacy provides me with a space where translating and compressing experience into fields of language and structures becomes the only way to consent."

Manuela Viera-Gallo has an eclectic body of work, but the focus is always on subsuming serious themes and topics into the fantastical and darkly comical, combined with a desire to use raw settings and materials. She affirms: "My point-of-view has been strongly shaped by the social and political violence that has affected the history of most Latin American countries, and by my personal history of permanent migration and cultural itinerancy."

Guillermo Creus is an artist and curator, born in Argentina, raised in Brazil and based in New York. He is the founder of Fortress to Solitude, a multi-venue curatorial platform and online art space:

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