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EXHIBITIONS

Jose Dàvila and Valeska Soares at Max Wigram, London

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Jose Dávila’s work makes constant reflections on modern architecture and urbanism, contemporary art, its forecasts and failures. For this exhibition, the artist has produced new works exploring notions of logical and illogical systems of thought and perception, the hidden geometry embedded into them, whilst offering a moment of reflection on modern history and its cultural tropes.
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The exhibition consists of a selection of hybrid works. On the walls are shown a series of prints of iconic Dan Flavin’s neon sculptures, intervened on by the artist by removing the central subject. With this iconoclastic gesture, Dávila reduces these images to pure context, reminding us of the indivisibility between the subject and the site, posing the question: what is, or was, more important – the subject, the moment, the place, or the context? With these works, Dávila comments on the role of images in our cultural and subjective memory, and develops an active relationship between the work and the viewer – we are compelled to fill in the void, recurring to our memory or imagination, thus performing a creative act. Reproducing this absence by arranging the frames with a void at the centre, the artist leaves a space for the viewer to fill, personally and symbolically.
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A large metallic sculpture placed on the floor offers a link between the two-dimensional works on the wall and three-dimensional space. This structure seems to extend beyond balance, presenting us with a nonlogical system of form, questioning the relationship between form and function and its significance in art.
The sculpture draws a continuous line in space, a sideways eight, the symbol for infinity. This Möbius strip is disrupted by the artist, who breaks it up with angles, twists, and colour blocking that do not follow a discernible pattern. This sculpture actualises space in relation to movement. The viewer is here invited to walk through and around the sculpture, filling the void with his or her body. Ever changing depending on the point of view, yet uninterrupted, the sculpture becomes a metaphor for history, suggesting its eternal recurrence across infinite time and space.
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Dávila appropriates history, works of art, systems of thoughts, architectural models, and takes up their potential by repeating them in a series of critical homages that open them up to discourse and create new moments of creative possibilities.

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at Max Wigram Gallery, London

until 13 July 2013

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Jose Dàvila, Topologies of light III, 2013

Jose Dàvila, Untitled (Monument 4 for Those Who Have Been Killed in an Ambush), 2013

Jose Dàvila, Untitled (Flavin Pair), 2012

Above –  Jose Dàvila, Shadow as Rumour, installation view, Max Wigram Gallery, London, 2013

Courtesy: the artist and Max Wigram Gallery, London

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Valeska Soares. Notations

The exhibition references core themes recurrent in Soares’ work: time, subjective memories, and literature. Two groups of works are shown here. On the walls, paintings from the ongoing series Bindings, feature antique book covers arranged in geometric compositions onto unprimed canvas.
Across the room, Timeline I connects two adjacent walls with thirty-one book pages strung on copper wire. Printed on each page, a sentence connoting the passage of time. Using text both as material and artistic model, these works deconstruct the structure of the novel, inviting the viewer to reconfigure the pieces into new, subjective narratives.
Subjectivity is a key element in Bindings. Each painting seems to contain an arbitrary collection. The book dust jackets and covers are arranged in a manner reminiscent of a modernist grid. Appearing as an exercise in chromatic and compositional balance, the paintings are imbued with poetic qualities, in a gesture indicative of Soares’ desire to make art that is not self-referential. The covers are not only chosen for their formal qualities, but also for the possible associations they can develop within one painting. The viewer’s gaze scans this visual labyrinth of colours and shapes, and texts, arranged in multiple directions, each time developing new and subjective connections and narratives.

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Books also constitute the raw material for Timeline I. The deceptively linear arrangement of the pages reveals a non-sequential narrative, in a manner akin to poetry and open to reconfiguration, a reminder that everything is in a state of flux. The aforementioned textual connotations – the inevitability of impermanence – are also embedded in Timeline I on a physical level: each page, ripped from found and discarded books, carries the signs of its own, unique history. Subjective histories and multiple narratives are thus the material that Soares accumulates and reconfigures for her work.

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Soares’ accumulation is not a collection: it is text, and each object that she collects is a quotation. Refuting the possibility of a single meaning the artist invites the viewer/reader to perform a creative act and compose new narratives, not to decipher them. It is precisely in this act that the focus and unity of the works reside. As text, Soares’ works become the paragraphs in the multiple narrative branches of her artistic practice.

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at Max Wigram Gallery, London

until 13 June 2013

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Valeska Soares, The Obscene Bird of Night (from Bindings), 2013

Valeska Soares, The Rose Tattoo (from Bindings), 2013

Valeska Soares, Timeline I (from Bindings), detail, 2010

Above – Valeska Soares, “Notations,” installation views at Max Wigram Gallery, London

Courtesy: the artist and Max Wigram Gallery, London

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