Amalia Pica’s second solo show at KÖNIG GALERIE is a continuation of a project begun at the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City in the summer of 2013, which resulted in an exhibition at La Criée centre d'art contemporain Rennes in France last year. In her iteration of this show at KÖNIG GALERIE, Pica will present two sculptures and a film in which she pursues her formal and political exploration of mathematical set theory. Her works suggest systems of exchange, transmission and reception of information, at the same time as they offer a fresh reading of the avant-gardes and abstraction.
The issue of communication – of the statement and the performativity of verbal and non – verbal language – is a core concern for an artist committed to exploring its systems and modes of functioning. Through sculpture, photography, installation, performance and video, her work sets out to define the communicational codes we share beyond the barriers of language.
At the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011 Pica presented Venn Diagrams (under the spotlight), a projection of two colored circles inspired by the set theory John Venn developed to describe the logical-mathematical relationships of inclusion and exclusion.
The Venn diagram reference is especially significant for this artist: under the 1976–1983 dictatorship in her native Argentina the diagrams were banned from the school curriculum on the grounds of their subversive potential for instigating group dynamics and expressions of collectivity. Thus her work foregrounds the inherent political aspect of information exchange.
Since 2013, first at Museo Tamayo in Mexico with the exhibition A∩B∩C, then at Herald St. Gallery London, Kunsthalle Lisbon, Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, and at La Criée Rennes, Pica has been replaying the issues raised by Venn’s diagrams.
For A∩B∩C she arranged colored geometrical plexiglass shapes along the gallery walls: the exhibition was regularly activated by performers who brought the shapes together at the centre of the space, held them up in a way that gave rise to certain combinations, put them back in a different place, and then repeated the exercise forming a new composition.
Photographs and a film resulted from these performances; the film was first screened at La Criée Rennes last year together with a group of sculptures specially made for the exhibition. A joint venture with the Mexican filmmaker Rafael Ortega, the film shows the shapes at rest, their slow activation by the performers and then the way they are combined, making up a new «sentence» each time. As an attempt to start at the crucial point (the intersection) the two screen projection starts with such close angles of the shapes that the narrative appears extremely abstract and it slowly unveils the performance as the zoom travels outwards.
The sculptures – metal structures with the same colored Perspex shapes suspended from them – are memorials of the different compositions formed by the performers in the film. Functioning as «fixatives» of the shapes’ meetings, these visual statements form possible interpretations and narratives. Moreover the series synthesizes many aspects of the history of abstract sculpture, including Minimalism, Kinetic Art and Constructivism.
Amalia Pica’s exhibition at KÖNIG GALERIE is a wordless narrative, an invitation to reflect on the construction, composition and effectiveness of all narrative and all language: in short, a visual semiotics.
Text: Sophie Kaplan, director of La Criée centre d'art contemporain Rennes
Amalia Pica (born 1978 in Neuquén Capital, Argentina) lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions were held at La Criée centre d'art contemporain, Rennes, France (2014), Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2014), The Netherlands, Switchboard, MOSTYN, Llandudno, Wales, UK (2014), Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2013), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2013), MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, USA (2013), Chisenhale Gallery, London (2012), Modern Art Oxford (2012), Kunsthalle Sankt Gallen, Switzerland (2012), Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (2010). She will have upcoming solo exhibition at Hordaland Kunstsenter, Bergen, Norway and at Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany amongst others. In 2011 Amalia Pica participated in the 54th Venice Biennale. Her works are represented in numerous collections including the Tate, London, UK, Guggenheim, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Museo Nacional de Bellas Arte Neuquén and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.