Argentina-born artist Liliana Porter (b. 1941) recontextualizes the ordinary things of the world to create small cracks in our perception of meaning, memory, and history. Her medium is the everyday object that carries some trace of the past—nostalgia-inducing toys, family curios, and odd souvenirs found in flea markets and yard sales. Juxtaposing these artifacts in marvelous vignettes and semiotic double entendres, Porter creates fables for our times—at once humorous and terrifying, banal and exotic.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is Man with Axe and Other Stories, which shows a small man in a suit at the terminus of a trail of objects that he appears to have smashed with an axe while walking backward across a plateau. The devastated landscape, full of splintered furniture, shattered clocks and vases, and toppled figurines, is a stage on which this anarchist has acted out his destructive impulses. The tableau illustrates that, like time itself,...a tiny thing—a germ, an idea, or a lone person—can bring down a kingdom or a world. Always fascinated with paradox, Porter says about Man with Axe that “even though it is destruction, it’s not sinister... It’s like a luminous destruction, we could say. I like that contradiction.”
This enigmatic perspective continues throughout the exhibition, where other sculptures and a video similarly mix oppositional metaphors: history is perpetually on the move and in a state of ruination, labor is essential but always being undone, and the associations between objects and language are endlessly and joyfully elastic. With this exhibition, Porter asks the big questions: What is time in relation to experience? What role does memory play in shaping the world? What is our purpose in life?
Entrada actualizada el el 16 abr de 2021
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