Carlos Amorales “El Esplendor Geométrico” at kurimanzutto, Mexico City
Carlos Amorales returns to kurimanzutto with “El Esplendor Geométrico”, a series of twelve collages that incorporate color for the first time into his work. Based on smaller compositions made with color paper samples, these large-format works present collage as an action or as a verb. Beyond its definition as pictorial technique, collage is introduced as a tool to construct meaning. Despite their apparent abstraction, the works on view recall landscapes; different shades suggesting the passage of time and seasonal changes of light. In this exhibition, Amorales proposes a discussion about temporality through the use of form and color.
In addition to the collage works, there will be a screening of El No Me Mires (2015), the third and final film in the trilogy consisting of Amsterdam (2013) and The Man Who Did All Things Forbidden (2014). For this final installment, Amorales wrote a script that articulates the idea of a cinematic collage: through the dream of an opium addict, the film revisits an Inuit myth where the protagonist has become invisible to European traders with whom he tries to trade goods. This narrative is intermixed with a rich variety of sources: paintings, costumes and set designs by Russian Suprematist artist Kazimir Malevich, strains of pedagogical and political theory articulated by Joseph Beuys, as well as the controversial texts by Chilean writer Manuel Serrano. The idea of collage permeates the entire project; the actors themselves used collage cutouts as props and scenic backdrops as they developed a symbolic language of their own, opening new associative and narrative possibilities.
Amorales’ films always begin with a rigorous research process, which, in addition to infusing the works with life and substance, places each project within a particular historical and political narrative. One of the results of this process was the conceptualization of an artistic vanguard: Ideological Cubism. Amorales and his studio created a manifesto for this movement, addressing the possibility of seeing multiple perspectives simultaneously, as well as the need to actualize anarchy.
At the opening of “El Esplendor Geométrico”, Philippe Eustachon, one of Amorales’ film collaborators, presented a performance to illustrate Ideological Cubism, incorporating a text that juxtaposes extracts of the most famous avant-garde manifestos of the twentieth century. This exercise combines the principles of Futurism, Surrealism and Dada, as well as proposals by Lucio Fontana and the Grupo Cero— each of these marked by political difference—in order to highlight the failed state of democracy and its reduction to “left,” “center” and “right” wing politics.
Carlos Amorales studied visual arts at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and holds an MFA from the Beeldende Rijksakademie van Kunsten, also in the same city. For more than ten years he developed the Liquid Archive, a collection of images from books, magazines and the Internet, which he transformed into vector graphics and used as the basis of his own visual language. Using this visual database, the artist has ventured into mediums diverse as sculpture, drawing, installation, video, animation, collage and painting.
In “El estudio por la ventana” (2010), his first solo exhibition at kurimanzutto, Amorales reconstructed a full-scale replica of his first studio in Mexico City, where he began to develop animated films and installations. The architectural replica of the apartment was covered with drawings and the iconography from the Liquid Archive, presenting the studio as a metaphor for the artist’s mind.
Through the constant reinterpretation and transformation of images in this archive, Amorales’ work became increasingly more abstract—a process he likens to early printing presses. Once a form is emptied of meaning, when it detaches from its associated content, it can inhabit the world graphically, opening the possibility for new interpretations and associations to arise.
In 2013 at the Museo Tamayo, Amorales presented “Germinal”, an exhibition that brought together sculptures and installation works as well as a set of abstract forms based on the Liquid Archive. Condensed and fragmented, these works sought to question language and its limits. Parallel to his studio practice, Amorales has begun to explore film, a medium that allows him to test new possibilities of non-verbal communication. Carlos Amorales lives and works in Mexico City.
until 14 March 2015
Carlos Amorales, “El Esplendor Geométrico” installation views at kurimanzutto, Mexico City, 2015
Courtesy: the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City. Photos: Diego Pérez.