The Piero Atchugarry Gallery presents “Natural Successor”, a group exhibition of contemporary sculpture that draws attention to the struggle for dominance between nature and artifice that has come to a head in the Anthropocene era. Hailing from Brazil, Italy, Uruguay and Japan, each artist takes up the task of drawing our attention to the ways in which our perception of what is natural has been reshaped and obfuscated by the legacy of global industry.
Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira (b. 1973) primarily uses discarded wood collected from the streets of São Paulo, where he lives and works. Inspired by the many temporary wooden construction fences seen throughout his city, Oliveira’s newest jagged sculptures present the many visual and tactile qualities of wood that has been exposed to the elements. Evoking a tree hollow enclosed with sharpened prongs, Oliveira’s sculptures not only collapse the stages of wood’s decomposition, but also the timeline from...the wood’s harvest to its industrial purpose, and its return to a more natural yet alien appearance.
Also based in São Paulo, Brazilian artist Artur Lescher (b. 1962) makes reference to natural elements which, when impeccably reproduced by means of industrial processes, reveal and, at the same time, deny these very real origins. Lescher transforms raw elements like volcanic Basalt rock and Jacaranda wood into sleeker, almost streamlined, interpretations of nature. A river is simplified into a flowing lattice of steel in Lescher’s Rio De Parede (2021); A forest is signified by a grouping of suspended forms, tapering off towards the ground and ceiling, rootless, impossible.
Uruguayan artist Pablo Atchugarry (b. 1954) sculpts with the intention of restoring a sense of dignity to his materials in their afterlife. Danza de la Vida (2019) embodies the artist’s role as co-author with nature–the gnarled olive tree stump (originally from Spain) is transformed into a graceful figure that rises up–overcoming the physical restrictions imposed by nature by means of his own art.
Italian artist Roberto Pugliese’s (b. 1982) Critici Ostinati Ritmici (2010) uses sound and kinetics to amplify the imminent problem of global deforestation. Through a series of electromagnetic pulses released according to live statistics, a clicking noise is produced for every felling of a tree. The hollowed out trunk that houses Pugliese’s contraption is a material reminder of the manifold trees it eulogizes; the jumble of wires evoking a patient on life support. The dense and insistent sound texture created represents the declining health of forests in real time, amplifying the image of the earth as a living being in critical condition.
Another Italian artist working with kinetic sculpture is Arcangelo Sassolino. Pressurized air causes his plastic sculpture to contract and expand, producing a thunder that beckons viewers closer with every strike. The plastic container itself resembles a water jug, a sinister cue of the mounting amount of single-use plastics polluting oceans every year.
Japanese artist Yuken Teruya’s Notice-Forest series illustrates the cycle of mass consumerism. Each work in the series is a “portrait” referencing a specific, existing tree from a photograph, each housed inside a discarded fast food or designer paper. While it seems like the bag is holding the fragile tree inside, the bag actually combines with the tension of the tree to hold the bag up. It is a microcosm of the initial tree’s strength, and a reminder of the trees harvested for the manufacturing of paper bags en masse.
At the heart of Natural Successor is the message that our connection to the planet is vital for our survival. Each artist challenges our ability to discern nature from artifice, as technological advancements move us further away from the memory of an unspent earth.
In December 2018, with a space established in Garzón, Uruguay, Piero Atchugarry expanded his program to North America to a warehouse in Miami’s renowned Design District neighborhood. A 9,000-squarefoot art space, the Piero Atchugarry Gallery is committed to supporting and presenting the work of local and international artists with an institutional approach.
The public opening reception of Natural Successor will coincide with Miami Art Week, taking place from 12pm to 7pm on Sunday, November 28th at the Piero Atchugarry Gallery. The opening is free and open to the public.
Entrada actualizada el el 01 dic de 2021
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