The Next Generation Gallery
Enter Abraham Cruzvillegas, the artist ushering in kurimanzutto’s New York space on the Upper East Side: sourcing all his materials from the city, he’s constructed a perishable floating labyrinth. Vegetable crates hung from the ceiling on transparent fishing line are arranged in an hourglass shape, bold Pepto Bismol pink crates becoming a deep hunter’s teal, and upon each can be found a single object.
The sculptures are prone to twirl, so walking around searching for the featured object can feel like a scavenger hunt — here is a taxidermy duck, there a sitar, and scattered beyond are the amazingly startling inclusion of perishable food: ham, turmeric, root vegetables. Of course, we at office had to pick the brain of such an artistic wit: read below to see the wheels turning.
You talk about reconstructing identity — do you feel that you’re a different person everywhere you go?
That you are constantly forming new identities / alter egos in new cities / places? More than forming alter-egos, I think -like everybody’s- my identity is permanently changing. The very concept ‘Autoconstrucción’ I’ve been referring to, comes from the process of constructing houses by the families who live in them: they construct their own homes without architectural design, without ‘concepts’ or budget, and most of the times, without money, slowly and very haphazardly, those are idiosyncratic spaces in which specific shapes come from specific needs, scarcity and ingenuity: that’s the case of the place where I grew up. Then, this allegory became my main tool for making art, not representing houses or fragments of houses, but strictly trying to reproduce the very dynamics of making, and above all, referring to the construction of the self, properly meaning the construction of identity. After using the term ‘Autoconstrucción’ for a while, I moved into ‘Autodestrucción’, then to ‘Autocontusión’, ‘Autoconcación’, ‘Autorreconstrucción’, ‘Autoconcalzón’, ‘Autosincalzón’, etc... So it means that not only identity changes, but everything, like language. Cities and places are never the same...
This project is ongoing? Will it ever end? Is it supposed to be infinite?
It’s said that energy can’t be destroyed or created, so it’s only constant. Magic mushrooms transform shit into gold, then that energy becomes colorful perceptions of reality, so alchemy is true. In permanent disaster -all economical, political, social, cultural ways- the Duchampian perspective of something that’s definitely unfinished, not only referring to Fourth Dimension theory and Pataphysics, leads to a really objective and positive evidence of infiniteness. All true art is never fixed, it should be endless instead.
The pieces at the show are displayed as if they were weightless, hovering in midair. Why?
Eye level is only a little tool, in terms of looking at reality, where truth happens, but also, when shifting my gaze a bit higher or a bit lower, produces funky distortions of perspective, and this way I feel my understanding changes as well. Johnny Rotten used to sing, holding the mike at mouth level, bending his body as a hunchback -he said so- produces a different political perspective: a humiliating one, different from The King, The Ruler, The Authority, The Powerful Ones. Cathedrals are very much about this, so we are always lower to God’s eye, and these buildings aspire to heaven, like almost all architecture: it’s all about power and authoritarianism. I like challenging gravity -in all ways- so to get rid of that, by using my horizon, standing everywhere facing things at my actual height, when possible. Anamorphic perspective could be also problematic for me, as it means looking at reality from outside, not as part of it.
I was excited to hear that you’re a writer as well. What kind of writing do you do? Do you think it’s important for artists to work in multiple mediums nowadays?
I do something my publisher calls ‘friction’... For me it’s analogous to my sculptures, not the way it mirrors my work as an artist, but in a contradictory way, using words and spoken language, constructing a discourse that’s deliberately unstable and inefficient. Writing for me is a practice that allows me to think aloud, when trying to make a new art project, or thinking on particular circumstances that provoke me to do so, like reading a book, eating, listening to music, watching a film, visiting an exhibition. For me it’s making bridges to other people, places, things, animals...
What city have you not been to that you would like to visit and source for a new project in your series?
San Pedro Sula.