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
THEATER: Is any risk worth a pound of flesh? Hovering between comedy and utter tragedy, Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice is a dark disturbing love story that explores the crisis that results when man's hunger for an object or person exceeds reasonable risk; when the human heart is blinded by its own desires.
CalArts, Main Gallery
PROVOST: A discussion and workshop on equity & diversity issues/concerns, with guest speakers, film and refreshments.
ART: Born in 1970 in Philadelphia and the first member of her immediate family to graduate from high school, Strauss was given a camera for her 30th birthday and started taking pictures of life in the city’s marginal neighborhoods. She is a photo-‐based installation artist who uses Philadelphia as a primary setting and subject for her work. Out in the streets, Strauss typically photographs whatever strikes her interest, paying particular attention to the overlooked (or purposefully avoided) details of life. Strauss' humanist perspective and eye for composure make her one of "photography’s great naturals."
In 1995, she started the Philadelphia Public Art Project, a one-‐woman organization whose mission is to give the citizens of Philadelphia access to art in their everyday lives. Strauss now calls the Philadelphia Public Art Project an “epic narrative” of her own neighborhood. “When I started shooting, it was as if somewhere hidden in my head I had been waiting for this,” she says.
Between 2001 and 2011, Strauss’s photographic work culminated in a yearly “Under I-‐95” show which took place beneath the Interstate in South Philadelphia. She displayed her photographs on concrete pillars under the highway where she sold photocopied prints of her work for $5 each.
Strauss received a Seedling Award in photography from the Leeway Foundation in 2002, a Pew Fellowship in 2005, and in 2006 her work was included in the Whitney Biennial; she also mounted a solo exhibition[at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. In 2007 Strauss was named a 2007 USA Gund Fellow and granted $50,000 by United States Artists, an arts advocacy foundation dedicated to the support and promotion of America's top living artists.
CalArts, Sharon Disney Lund Theater
DANCE: Meryl Murman's MFA Thesis Concert
Ways of Forgetting invites us into the colorful, neurotic, wacky world of the closeted imaginations of six young people who are on the run—though they don’t know where to. Certain that humans descended from birds, obsessed with social networks and longing for human connection in spite of an acute awareness of the brutality of intimacy, they confront their desires for tenderness while simultaneously yearning to escape out the back door of the theater, hitch the next ride out of town, and forget themselves.
Whimsical, athletic, and at times funny, it forces us to question deeply why and how we make ourselves lonely.
MUSIC: Performances and sound experiment event involving analog synths and gears put together by the CalArts Electronic Music Ensemble.