November 7 - December 21, 2013
LIVIA CORONA BENJAMIN
NEW YORK—Sgorbati Projects is pleased to announce the gallery’s inaugural exhibition with work by Pavel Acosta, Livia Corona, Ignacio Lang and Gabriela Salazar. Each artist, through acts of intervention—theft, documentation, arbitrary appropriation, formal reinterpretation—modify established systems, repurposing these structures for their own intents.
Photographing various squinting subjects while positioned directly in front of the sun, Pavel Acosta turns the search for light, a pursuit common to much of human history, into a reaction to its excess. This constraint nullifies ethnic identity through the theft of signifying attributes. As often the case with Acosta’s work, the medium, in this case light (requisite to the photographic process), becomes an essential conceptual device. Part of a larger body of work, Stolen Ethnic Background (Jaipur, India) (2008) illustrates a primary focus of his practice: recording theft as a means to fulfill necessity. Here, the artist himself is cast as purloiner.
Livia Corona’s work chronicles promises, resilience and reinvention. Metepec, Lagunillas, Lower East Side (2013) is part of her ongoing project documenting a flawed system of government-constructed grain silos. An estimated 3,558 silos were built throughout Mexico from the 1960s to 1990‘s. The majority never functioned as intended and were either abandoned or repurposed as homes, classrooms, public bathrooms, protestant churches or stables. For this installation, Corona draws inspiration from the work of painter Francisco Goitia (1882-1960) who depicted a series of original grain silos built in the late 1800s (on which the modern government program was based). Whereas Goitia lived in and painted the silos under varying qualities of natural light, Corona collects photographs she makes of these silos, then remodels them as motifs for light studies and abstractions. The artist uses a system she developed for standardizing color output on an analogue CMYK enlarger—her own source of light, artificially created in a New York City darkroom.
Weird but True (2004-), is an ongoing archive collected by Ignacio Lang of nearly 20,000 newspaper clippings from the New York Post's column of the same name. The column contains short news stories which, with alternately comic, tragic, historic or political twists and turns, reveal the peculiarities of our contemporary civilization. (Weird but True refers to “strange but true,” a phrase used by Plato in the First Alcibiades and later popularized in English by Shakespeare in Macbeth, Act III, Scene IV.) In a new body of work presented here, titled Columns (2013), the artist uses a cut-up or fold-in technique to scramble the standard narrative structure of stories from the archive in order to create new, yet cohesive texts. Each text is then paired with an image found on the internet and etched by laser into a panel.
Using the built environment as the framework for her site-specific installations and sculpture, Gabriela Salazar exposes underlying, and often unrealized, attempts at idealized form. For this exhibition, she shows a series of wedges made through the forced manipulation and reimagining of materials. The wedge, a "simple machine," gives its shape to the shim, traditionally used in construction to make things more “right" or to fill a gap; and the ramp, a multiplier of forces. Here, Salazar utilizes the leftover and auxiliary components of her studio practice: a piece of metal shelving, engineered stone, wood, encaustic paint, embroidery thread, polyester webbing—remainders of previous projects and unrealized ideas—to create sculptures that, while utilitarian in form, are functionally useless. Stripped of their inherent possibility as raw material, they reanimate as simple homages to the process and structure of their existence as art objects.
Pavel Acosta (b. Havana Cuba 1975) lives and works in New York City. He obtained his MFA at the Higher Institute of Art (Havana, Cuba, 2003.) Between 2000 and 2003 Acosta was part of ENEMA Collective, a group of thirteen artists that researched performance art, in Havana. His photography and collage work has been featured in several international exhibitions, including Here is Where We Jump: La Bienal (El Museo del Barrio, NYC, 2013); Caribbean, Crossroads of the World (Brooklyn Museum, NYC, 2012); Latino Latino (Instituto Italo Latino Americano, Venice, Italy, 2008) Killing Time, Exit Art (New York, 2008); Waiting List (Mestna Galerija, Liubliana, Slovenia, 2007); and the Havana Biennial (2000 and 2003). His most recent solo show was Del Pí al Pa, at Villa Manuela Gallery (Havana, Cuba, 2010).
Livia Corona (b. Mexico 1975) lives and works in New York City. She received her BFA from The Art Center in Pasadena, CA, is a recent Guggenheim Fellow and current recipient of an SNCA endowment for the arts, granted by Mexico’s Commissions of Arts and Culture. Her works have been exhibited world wide including the Abrons Center, New York, NY, Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, Valencia, Spain, The Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City. Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey, MX, Bozar Center for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium, and The Hartell Gallery at Cornell University. Her photographs are in the collections of the Portland Museum of Art, The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum and The William Benton Museum of Art. Corona is the author of two monographs, Enanitos Toreros, 2008 and Of People and Houses, 2009, both focus on quality of life as it manifests on the physical environment.
Ignacio Lang (b. Puerto Rico 1975) lives and works in New York City. He received a BFA from California Institute of the Arts and an MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts. His work has been exhibited at Museo del Barrio, MoMA/PS1, International Center of Photography, Frost Art Museum, Contemporary Art Center Vilnius, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, O.K. Centrum for Gegenwarstkunst, Fundacio Joan Miro, the Institute of Contemporary Arts London, Jewish Museum Vienna, Ex Teresa Arte Actual Mexico City and Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. He has taught at the School of Visual Arts, Parsons the New School for Design, Columbia University and Escuela des Artes Plasticas de Puerto Rico.
Gabriela Salazar (b. New York 1981) lives and works in New York City. She received an MFA in painting from Rhode Island School of Design and a BA from Yale University. Solo projects include For Closure (Outdoors, the Bronx), a monumental public art piece with the Bronx River Art Center / DOT; and Site Set at the Luchsinger Gallery, CT. Her work has been included in group shows across the country and has appeared in The New York Times, Art in America, and The New Yorker. She is currently a Smack Mellon “Hot Pick,” and is included in La Bienal 2013: Here is Where We Jump at El Museo del Barrio, through January 4, 2014; and in Building Materials at Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT. Salazar has been in residence at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture.