Gos Sa Mer: Santiago Cucullu + Ester Partegàs
Opening reception: Sunday, May 20, 2012, 3-5 pm
The artists will offer an informal tour of the exhibition at 4 pm.
In Gos Sa Mer, their first collaborative endeavor, artists Santiago Cucullu + Ester Partegàs examine the paradoxical relationship between the seemingly natural environment of the Lynden Sculpture Garden and the industrial appearance of the sculptures installed within it. The landscape and sculpture at Lynden give rise to a series of oppositions: nature/culture, organic/industrial, shades of colors/primary colors, roundness/sharpness, to name a few. In Gos Sa Mer, Santiago Cucullu and Ester Partegàs scrutinize these dualities, questioning their polarity and undermining our assumptions about which end is which. The artists develop an intrinsic dialogue that reverses charges and blurs boundaries: in this dialogue, trees become pillars, and sculptures, living beings. The arboreal landscape appears as a camouflaged installation of vertical structures, modular and architectural, and the sculptures are re-imagined as branches and fruit insinuated among the vertical forms. Moreover, the sculptures’ failure to live up to the Minimalist ideal of purity of form, material, color and installation--the works at Lynden get dirty and scratched, their colors fade; they are in need of constant maintenance—allows Cucullu and Partegàs to suggest that they are alive and in need of human care.
The project became an opportunity to explore the dynamic tension that holds these opposing elements together. The structure Cucullu and Partegàs discovered resembled a cobweb, made up of symbiotic relationships, familiar and sympathetic contrasts, accepted contradictions, humorous incongruities, and ambiguities. As the plan for the installation evolved, Partegàs began to associate the ideas of interrelations in space, of interdependency, and of simultaneous unity and dispersion with the word “gossamer.” In its syllables she heard something that “sounded like it could be a Berlin-based techno band, or a king from a fairy tale.” Cucullu immediately responded with Gossamer, the Looney Tunes monster created by Chuck Jones. Another living paradox, Gossamer is the embodiment of strength and delicacy. Terrifyingly huge and menacing, he is covered in fine hair (in a shade of red that a Minimalist would love) that signals that he is also a vulnerable and kind-hearted creature. “His fingernails,” the artists note, “are painted as if they were the screws that hold that mass of thin, delicate hair in place.” In addition to the collaborative installation in the gallery, Gos Sa Mer includes six prints by Santiago Cucullu and Ester Pargegàs's hand-painted T-shirts.
This exhibition was made possible in part through the support of the Viriginia Commonwealth University Sculpture + Extended Media Department.
About the Artists
SANTIAGO CUCULLU (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1969) lives and works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He holds an MFA from The Minneapolis Institute of Art and Design (1999) and a BFA with a concentration in painting from the University of Hartford, Connecticut (1992).
Selected solo shows include: Galeria Labor, Mexico City; Galleria Umberto Di Marino, Naples, Italy; The Green Gallery, Milwaukee (2011); Loock Galerie, Berlin (2008); Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, California (2006); Mori Art Museum, Japan (2004); Julia Friedman Gallery, Chicago (2003); Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis (2002).
Selected group exhibitions include: Hendershot Gallery, New York (2011); K21, Dusseldorf, Germany and Biennial of the Americas, Denver (both 2010); Rowley Kennerk Gallery, Chicago (2009); Fort Worth Contemporary Arts, Texas and Museum of Modern Art, New York (both 2008); Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal (2007); Singapore Biennial and Camden Art Center, London (both 2006); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Shanghai Biennial, China (both 2005); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2004); Fondazione Sandretto Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy (2003); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2000).
Cucullu is represented by Galeria Labor, Mexico City; Galleria Umberto Di Marino, Naples; Loock Galerie, Berlin; and The Green Gallery, Milwaukee.
ESTER PARTEGÀS (La Garriga, Barcelona, 1972) lives and works in Richmond, Virginia. She holds an MFA from Universitat de Barcelona (1996) and a Visual Arts Diploma in Multimedia Art from the Universität der Kunste, Berlin (1998).
Selected solo shows include: Foxy Production, New York; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, California (both 2010); Aldrich Museum for Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut (2008); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2007); Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Viriginia (2006); Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona; Hallwalls, Buffalo, New York (both 2003); Rice University Art Gallery, Houston (2002).
Selected group exhibitions include: Whitechapel Gallery, London; Centro Artes Visuales Helga de Alvear, Cáceres (both 2011); Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, New York; Denison Museum, Granville, Ohio (both 2010); Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; Macro Future, Depart Foundation, Rome; Foundation CaixaForum, Madrid (all 2009); 2nd Moscow Biennale (2007); Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina; Walker's Point Center for the Arts, Milwaukee; Cercle (all 2006); SculptureCenter, New York (2005); Queens Museum of Art, New York (2003); Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York, Arnolfini, Bristol (both 2002), Public Art Fund, Brooklyn, New York (2001).
Partegàs is represented by Foxy Production, New York; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, California; Galería Helga de Alvear, Madrid; and NoguerasBlanchard, Barcelona. She is on the faculty of the Sculpture + Extended Media Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.
More information: http://www.esterpartegas.com/