Pablo Bronstein, Primitive facade variations (2014), ink and watercolour on paper 6 parts, each part: 115 x 200 cm / 45.2 x 78.7 in approx (unframed). | Courtesy of Herald St, London and Franco Noero, Turin
REDCAT: Opening reception: Friday, January 24, 6–9pm
Daily performances: 3–6pm, or through intermission
Exhibition hours: Tuesday–Sunday 12–6pm
The work of London-based artist Pablo Bronstein (Buenos Aires, 1977) is distinguished by a series of projects and public interventions in which he assumes the roles of art historian, architect and choreographer as he reconstructs historical moments and mimics them in tableaux vivants. Camouflaged within the guise of history and imitating architectural forms or urban lifestyles from a certain era, Bronstein reinvents the past with great subtlety and perception.
The newly commissioned project that Pablo Bronstein creates at REDCAT functions as a "staged essay" where the artist articulates, by means of a series of drawings and furniture, the origins of architecture from the naturalistic perspective of the Enlightenment. In a certain way, Bronstein satirizes the insistence with which the architectural culture of the Enlightenment sought to guarantee a "nature" uncontaminated by historical events.
In the gallery, a series of drawings and furniture/buildings appear and together create a traditional 18th-century room. Each unit changes shape and location by means of a set choreography, transforming the suite into an urban plaza reminiscent of the idealized view of a city in traditional Renaissance painting. The intricate setting is activated by a performer who opens, closes and rearranges the objects in the exhibition, and then returns them to their initial state. In their open position, these objects create a complex pattern, imitating the possible uses of a bourgeois city. In their closed position, they return to the rigid and symmetrical grid of the room, an abstract representation of State power and order. Each of these pieces also functions as a sign that refers indirectly to the search for the first building or an architectural model of universal validity. By exaggerating their decorative and constructive morphology, these pieces seem to have an essential and practical function of creating a "real architecture" that emphasizes not the mythological or religious perspectives that dominated in the past, but the archeological interests of Enlightenment thinkers and the historical research into the era.
However, the inherent contradictions that Pablo Bronstein establishes between the drawings and furniture/buildings—the shapes they refer to, their irreducibility to pure theory or mere physicality, functionality or artifice—are also ironic comments about the role of art historians, highlighting the pleasure but also the danger of historical discourse. Pablo Bronstein establishes processes that enable fissures between the past and present, the human and inanimate and, above all, between the practice of history and lived experience. He also questions the common ground between the construction of discourse and the subject of study, as well as our own body and the way we look through objects, involuntarily searching for their capacity to reveal a history to us. As in any historical discourse, Pablo Bronstein creates a temporary, incomplete setting, one that can always change shape, demonstrating to us that there is no single origin, and that the original always seems to be preceded by its copy.
Pablo Bronstein (b. 1977, Buenos Aires) lives and works in London. Solo shows include Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève (2013); Institute of Contemporary Art, London (2011); Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2011); Sculpture Court, Tate Britain, London (2010); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2009); and Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich (2007).
Pablo Bronstein has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including Tate Live: Performance Room at Tate Modern, London (2012); MOVE: Choreographing You at Hayward Gallery, London, Haus der Kunst, Munich, and K20, Dusseldorf (2010–2011); and The Garden of Forking Paths at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich. Pablo Bronstein has participated in Manifesta 8 (2010–2011); Performa 07; The Second Biennial of Visual Arts, New York (2007); and at the Tate Triennale, Tate Britain, London (2006).
His books Postmodern Architecture in London (2007), Ornamental Designs (2008), and Gilded Keyholes (2013) have been published by König Books.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a small publication with an essay from Ellis Woodman (architecture critic and executive editor of BD, London, UK.)
CalArts, Coffeehouse Theater
THEATER: An improvisational dancetastic electronic/DJ audiovisual extravaganza.
D300 Gallery: Weng San Sit MFA 2 PHOTO/MEDIA
D301 Gallery: Nicholas Johnston MFA 2 ART
L-Shape Gallery: CLOSED
Main Gallery: Mary Beltran MFA 1 PHOTO/MEDIA
A402 Gallery: Svetlana Romanova MFA 2 ART
Lime Gallery: Kate Kendall MFA 1 ART
Mint Gallery: Jennifer Remenchik MFA 1 ART
CalArts, Bijou Auditorium
FILM/VIDEO: Artist in Residence CHRIS SULLIVAN will screen CONSUMING SPIRITS (2013, 130min.)
Consuming Spirits is a feature length animated psychological drama, created frame by frame with multi plane cut out animation and drawings on paper. After over 15 years in production, my first animated feature Consuming Spirits is finally done. This film is an archeological dig, and a crime scene. The site has already been looted, and most evidence tampered with. With much support and help from family, friends and the many artists who have worked on the project, I will present this evidence, and these artifacts to you, in their final form. A sprawling diorama. I hope to emerge both guilty and innocent. - CS
Chris Sullivan’s work stands as a defiant exception to the rules and patterns of contemporary animation. His most recent feature, Consuming Spirits, the product of 15 years or labor, is flat, handmade and melancholy; it "conducts an inquiry into the darkest zones of the human heart in a spirit at once anguished and playful."
- A.O. Scott, The New York Times on Consuming Spirits
"Watching Consuming Spirits is like surrendering to hypnosis, or to a particularly haunting dream... And the whole movie follows suit, presenting seemingly disconnected images that turn out to have deep and painful significance in an elaborately woven, powerful story. Like the punny title, which refers both to drinking alcohol and to the secret history that controls and constrains each of the characters, Consuming Spirits has hidden depths." - Tasha Robinson, The Onion AV Club.
I was born and raised in the wooded hills of Pittsburgh, PA along with 10 siblings, a product of my British mother Beryl, and my Irish American father Lawrence. They met in England during WW2. I now live in Chicago, where I make my work, teach at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, and am father to Carmen and Silvia Abelson. I have been creating experimental film and theater for 30 years. I have shown my work in festivals, theaters and museums worldwide, including Zagreb World Festival of Animation; Humboldt Film Festival; Ann Arbor Film Festival; Ottawa Animation Festival; Guggenheim Museum; Boston Museum; Tribeca Film Festival , Osian's Cinefest in India, Haifa Film festival, Chicago International, Milano, Vancouver International, Pacific Film Archives Denver Starz; and New Yorks, Film Forum in December Boston. Consuming Spirits began production in earnest in 1999 after receiving funding by a fellowship from The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and then equal funding came in the next year from Artist The Rockefeller Foundation Film Fellowship. Just after completing Consuming Spirits, I received a Creative Capital Grant to start work on another experimental feature: The Orbit of Minor Satellites. - CS
CalArts, Roy O. Disney Music Hall
MUSIC: A performance by the Efa Etoroma Jr. Trio, featuring the compositions of John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Wayne Shorter.
CalArts, The Wild Beast
MUSIC: The CalArts Orchestra, under the direction of Andreas Levisianos, performs Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition reorchestrated by CalArts students, Prokofiev's 2-Piano Concerto and Feldman's Cello and Orchestra, featuring the soloists Shane Summers and Erica Duke-Kirkpatrick.