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Paraíso, 2015

Solo Project

Bass Museum (Art Basel Public), Miami Beach

Landscape Intersection (Huaca Paraíso), a series of hollow bricks rest over a pair of wooden platforms, reconstructing a“Huaca”(a pre-Columbian funerary site) that has been destroyed by what appears to be a tractor, but we can only see the wheel traces . The title of the piece consists of a word in Quechua that can refer, indistinguishably, to a multitude of revered objects, natural locations of special significance, and burial monuments. For some the arrangement will bring to mind the funerary sites of the civilizations of pre-Columbian Peru, particularly those found in the coastal deserts. Others will see not an agglutination of walls hollowed by endless rows of niches, but the rooftop topography of a sprawling metropolis, each cell a minuscule abode. In the end, however, the heaps combine to offer us the model of a city or one of those miniature reconstructions that await the visitor at the entrance of an archaeological complex. This perspective that sees the work as the miniature reproduction of something more vast complex results, paradoxically, in the monumentalization of the whole—the work’s reduction to ever smaller dimensions is inseparable from the virtual projection of a majestic and panoramic reality. The materials are nevertheless few and raw, placing us in a zone of indistinction between minimalism and asceticism. The work disavows elaborate ornamentation and texture, providing a foil for its own intimations of monumentality. Thus it is that the work can come forward as a commentary on the ongoing efforts to render vast tracts of the coastal desert fit for habitation—a commentary, that is, on the effort to build. In this way the grandeur of a vast complex of ruins and its intimations of a majestic past, and the opulence of the present metropolis that allows to be seen in its totality, are displaced by the modest, tranquil, and hopeful dignity of the determination to turn a bleak or inhospitable desolation into a place invested with human significance. As a result of this displacement, we are left, in the end, with a vision of the materials that await their assemblage, secure in their tranquil repose.

The burial complex and the panorama of the city eventually prove to be nothing but a veil concealing a building site. The trajectory can of course be reversed, since what matters is the multiplicity of objects that the work can be. Whatever the route one decides to follow, however, one eventually comes into contact with a pile of bricks. The meanings that envelop this work could thus be said to veil a disciplined multitude of cells.

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