ANOTHER SPACE is pleased to announce Works from the Collection II: The Play Drive, an exhibition that explores notions of play and games as an aesthetic practice. The exhibition underscores the critical potential of play as an alternative to rational, programmatic thought. Bringing together artists from different generations and regions, the show raises questions about activation and agency in a world mediated by technology. The artists featured in the exhibition are Joaquín Torres-García, Donna Conlon and Jonathan Harker, Xul Solar, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Carl Cheng, Julio Le Parc, Lygia Clark, Hudinilson Jr, Tunga, Andrés Eidelstein, and Philippe Van Snick.
Technology is generally understood as a means of applying scientific logic to improve life, whereas play and games establish arbitrary rules that question the given. Dwelling on this tension between rationality and unpredictability, the artists in the exhibition appropriate and re-contextualize multiple forms of technology and physical play. They invite visitors to reconsider generally accepted relations between purpose, function and meaning.
U.S. artist Carl Cheng challenges the efficiency of technology through his Sample Viewer, a “useless machine” that mimics the language of scientific equipment despite its apparent lack of function. Similarly, Andrés Eidelstein playfully looks at industrially produced objects to explore the commodification of art. Eidesltein presents handmade figures of popular cartoon characters and others suggesting well-known paintings. With these, the artist raises questions about originality and authorship and explores the limits between the industrial and the hand-made and the artwork’s ability to personally affect the individual.
Julio Le Parc, Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticia, Hudinilson Jr. and Tunga focus on the physical and psychosocial potential of play as activation. Le Parc´s Douze lunettes pour une vision autre subvert the commonplace objects’ function through a simple alteration. Rather than improving vision with these glasses, Le Parc uniquely modifies their horizon lines. Thus distorting and destabilizing the participant’s spatial perception, Le Parc invites the user to adapt to the exceptional circumstances. Lygia Clark similarly focuses on the individual’s bodily experiences through her Bichos or in her art therapy explained in Memoria do Corpo. Developing an art therapy with works she termed “relational objects”, Clark shifts the attention from spectatorship to participation. This urgency to turn the spectator into a participant is shared with Oiticica. With Parangolé, Oiticica invites the viewer to literally step into an inhabitable painting and move within a newly defined social space. Hudinilson Jr. takes a different approach in looking at this interaction between role playing and gender ideals further, by exploring the responsibility of the media in the production and consumption of images, especially those of masculinity. He appropriates found pictures of the male body to create personal objects of desire, subverting the erotic ideals of femininity imposed by mass media and the institutional canon.
Artists including Tunga, Conlon and Harker, and Xul Solar further subvert the meaning and uses of everyday objects and popular games. Conlon and Harker produce a video of a line of bricks falling one upon the other in a domino effect that crosses through the old section of Panama City. The seemingly rigorous logic of the falling bricks serves as a social critique of Panama City´s in marked contrast to the city’s disorganized urbanization project, while at the same time referencing the economic connotation of the Domino theory and the history of imperialism in the Caribbean during the Cold War period. As with Efecto Dominó, Xul Solar´s Pan-chess appropriates the language of games to convey multiple meanings. In the Pan-chess, his elaborate version of the chessboard, Xul Solar combined languages and symbols in an attempt to create an infinite game, not conditioned by rules imposed from outside but rather by rules that evolve continuously with each game. Joaquín Torres-García toys termed “Transformables,” we are invited to interchange body parts, both human and animal, and are introduced to a multiplicity of possible meanings and forms. By invoking Torres-García’s singular and timely interest in pedagogy, the show hopes to emphasize on both the historical and the political dimensions of play as an aesthetic practice.