An adventure into art in a digital time going online has been a trend for some time now, but it has never been as relevant and important as it has become during the covid-19 pandemic. Simply put, it has developed into a tool to connect the world virtually in order to continue business, with the aim of replacing the physical presence. In the art world, however, it has left many people perplexed as to how to continue having a ‘normal’ relationship with others through a screen. The challenge becomes even greater when it comes to experiencing artworks, particularly those that were not originally conceived to be experienced digitally. Can the representation of an image ever recreate or reflect the experience that would usually take place in a physical encounter? SELECTIONS set off on a quest to find out. We invited 10 guests to describe one artwork of their choice, first in an objective way, but then more subjectively and contextually. The results are as unique as our participants and form this issue’s experimental catalogue.
Humberto Moro describes
Tania Pérez Córdova
To Wink, to Cry, 2020
Marble, copper cast, artificial tears,
cosmetic contact lens, a person
wearing one contact lens of a
colour different to her/his eyes
32.01 x 4.88 x 4.88 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Tina Kim
Two objects sit directly on the floor. The first one is a marble cylinder of a medium height, perhaps closer to where the arm of a medium-height person would end. The marble is a light grey and has clearer patches or perhaps the other way around. On the top of the cylinder there is a small concavity in the centre of the circular end, where a single green contact lens is suspended in a clear, liquid substance. The second object is a copper pot, which has rough edges, remnants of its creation. The pot is also affected by time: if you had seen the pot closer to the date that the exhibition was inaugurated, you would have seen the same clear liquid that is placed on top of the marble cylinder. However, as days passed, this liquid had a chemical reaction with the copper, creating formations of copper hydroxide, of bright blue tones. As the pot gets refilled with this liquid, new blue layers accumulate. The artwork label lists a last material, a person: someone who randomly wears the contact lens that completes the pair.
Tania Pérez Córdova (Mexican, born in 1979) is a Mexico City-based artist, whose practice investigates the poetic potential of materials, understanding them as entities or events which she relates to narratives where there is a level of anonymity, or where the act of refusing particular information constitutes the poetic action itself. The questions that are left unresolved create a space for speculation which constantly affects the sculptural forms she creates — and simultaneously, the materials she works with have physical dynamics, or embody a certain kind of transformation that represents itself as a subsequent narrative layer. Her recent exhibitions include solo exhibitions at Tina Kim Gallery in New York City, where To wink, to Cry was presented, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (2017), and Kunsthalle Basel (2018), among others. For the past year, Tania and I have been having a long conversation about her practice and about a solo exhibition we are planning at Museo Tamayo in Mexico City.
To see through the eyes of the other. To think about someone else’s gaze. To reveal the veil that covers perception. To think about how an object can expand into a body, can interact with a body, can modify or affect a body. To think of matter reacting, constantly, in a time that is greater than human time: how stone is formed, atoms collide, or new substances are created. To see a surface being transformed. To provoke a process. To wink, to cry. The chemical difference between water and tears. The emotional difference between water and tears. The technological difference between tears and artificial tears. The time that artificial tears need to evaporate (which is not the same as water), and the appropriate amount of liquid and the precise time to refill the empty spaces of the sculptures. The passing of time. The counting of time. The monumental importance of appearing unmonumental. To make amends with the fact that some things are meant to be undiscovered, or to remain unknown.
Humberto Moro is Deputy Director and Senior Curator at Museo Tamayo in Mexico City, where he recently curated OTRXS MUNDXS a large-scale survey of artists working in the city; Curator of the 2021 Exposure section at EXPO Chicago; and since 2016, Adjunct Curator at the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, where he has co-organised Frederick Douglass: Embers of Freedom, and organised solo exhibitions by Kenturah Davis, Glen Fogel, Alex Gardner, Oliver Laric, Cynthia Gutiérrez, Pia Camil, Mariana Castillo Deball, Tom Burr, Yang Fudong, FOS, AES+F, Mark Wallinger, Isaac Julien, and Anna Maria Maiolino, among others. Moro curated Other Situations, a project by Liliana Porter which included THEM, a theatre play at The Kitchen, the reopening exhibition at El Museo del Barrio, and a forthcoming publication. Moro has previously held curatorial positions at the Park Avenue Armory in New York and Museo Jumex in Mexico City. He was the recipient of the 2016 Estancias Tabacalera Research Award for Latin-American curators, Madrid, Spain, and was part of the 7th Gwangju Biennale International Curator Course, in Gwangju, South Korea. Moro holds a BFA in Painting from the Universidad de Guanajuato, Guanajuato; and a MA in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS), Bard College, New York; and is part of the 2021 cohort of the Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL).
A VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN PRINT IN SELECTIONS #54