Rochelle Goldberg “No Where, Now Here” at GAMeC
GAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo presents No Where, Now Here, the first solo exhibition devoted to Rochelle Goldberg (1984, Vancouver, Canada; lives and works in New York) at a European institution, curated by Sara Fumagalli and Stefano Raimondi.
A carpet that resembles neon dirt and measures more than 200 square-meters will be spread across the gallery floor, acting as a scenic monochrome platform for the presentation of the artist’s work: No Where, Now Here – from which the exhibition takes its title and which mutates Goldberg’s piece presented earlier this year in the “Mirror Cells” group exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York – alongside a new series of object-based works and a space-encompassing wall-drawing.
Contrasting the hand-rendered and the fabricated, the primal and the technological, Rochelle Goldberg destabilizes these categories, directing attention to the unstable border where the virtual and the real can co- exist. Goldberg’s work enacts a threshold experience, undermining any finality, and paradoxically positing transformation as the ultimate form. The material contamination, dispersed across the surfaces, which include the gallery floor and additional leakage onto and around the sculptural works, permeates the boundaries of discrete objects. Material contact, as Goldberg deploys it, leads to “infection”, to a state of flux in which the boundaries and borders that serve as forms of containment are transgressed and undermined.
Through a subtle semantic shift, the exhibition title No Where, Now Here produces a variation of context, space, place and, more generally, meaning. No Where, Now Here deploys an ecological framework and represents the uncertain and dynamic place from which the creatures that inhabit the exhibition space emerge: menacing hybrid-species attracted by bait, fluctuate between the state of serpent, pelican, and briefcase in a transformative continuum. The status of predator and prey is confused, and even reversed as pelicans devour briefcases made from their very substance. They are reluctant cannibals with a short-circuiting food source. Additionally, an owl watches potential prey while perched above. The viewer might even be consumed by the watchful owl.
The steel structures that run fluidly through the space, divide and join it, while undermining the fixity of the architectural structure that houses the installation.
Chia seeds scattered on lava sand mixed with coal slag could germinate, transforming the stability of the work, and introducing the potential for porous borders separating and defining each component. This dynamic potential renders the impossibility for a definitive shape to be crystallized over time.
It is here, now, that the viewer is invited to step across the threshold and explore this enigmatic and unknown, perhaps even menacing place. Stepping across the threshold of the space means becoming immersed and undergoing an active experience: the cracked and dry earth brings a mysterious situation into the present, a language to be discovered by exploring the complicated surfaces of the exhibition space.
The ceramic works on display have a hybrid and organic appearance, poised between animate and inanimate, as if generated by continuous mutations and transformations.
This is enacted through the use of tangled serpent-like coils that can assume a variety of forms. Additional works that continue this thread will also be on view. Including Hands replace the deck, which sutures the haptic language of ceramic with contemporary materials in the service of connection: namely, fibre optic cables, illuminated by LEDs while hands in a variety of grasping positions try to take hold of them.
The glazed ceramic works are highly reflective and enact a metonymic relationship with themselves and one another. The exhibition environment is treated as a stage, where the objects on display all collapse and redouble onto themselves, thus expressing a crisis of individuation. The use of mirrored metallic glazes, porous ‘skins’, and the comprehensive mingling of materials, ensnare the viewer into an environment in which their own image is captured, metabolized and diffused. In this way, the artist imagines individual identity as parasitically dependent on an external flux.
The exhibition is accompanied by a monographic catalogue published by GAMeC Books, which documents Rochelle Goldberg’s most important works and features an artist project developed specifically for the occasion, as well as publishing details of the works on display.
It includes a short essay by Rochelle Goldberg, texts by Giacinto Di Pietrantonio (GAMeC Director, Bergamo), Sara Fumagalli (GAMeC curator, Bergamo), Ruba Katrib (Sculpture Centre curator, New York), Flora Katz (Researcher, art critic and independent curator), Piper Marshall (Critic and independent curator, New York), Jane Panetta (Whitney Museum associate curator, New York), Stefano Raimondi (GAMeC curator, Bergamo) and a conversation about the artist’s works between the art historian Leah Pires and the neuroscientist Sara Costantino.
The book will be available from the museum bookshop from December 2016.
We would like to thank GAMeC Club, Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York and Galleria Federico Vavassori, Milano for their generous contribution to the publication.
Rochelle Goldberg’s solo show is part of a series of exhibitions devoted to the collector Arturo Toffetti, whose donation has made it possible for GAMeC to hold a number of contemporary art exhibitions since 2008 and to enrich its Permanent Collection with new works. In fact, one of the artist’s works will become part of the museum collection at the end of the exhibition.
The exhibition has been made possible thanks to the support of the sponsors Dielle Ceramiche S.p.A., Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York and Galleria Federico Vavassori, Milano and the technical sponsors Radici Pietro Industries & Brands S.p.A. / SIT-IN and Rebuzzi.
until January 15, 2017