CARLA ZACCAGNINI: no. it is opposition.
17 September – 7 December 2008
Opening Wednesday 17 September, 6-9 pm
The palindromic title of the exhibition, no. it is opposition., hints at its central focus: what Argentinean-born, Brazilian artist Carla Zaccagnini describes as “forking paths and crossroads.” The exhibited works are premised on replication but ultimately prove to be somewhat different (forking paths), or appear completely disparate but ultimately end in the same place (crossroads). The exhibition’s metaphoric content can also be understood in terms of a mirror image reflected in the exhibition plan. The exhibition includes a full-scale replica of the AGYU’s lobby inside the first gallery so that the viewer enters the exhibition space twice and sees the “same” work again since the works are divided into pairs and split between the two galleries. For example, in the first gallery, the double-channel video installation, Duas Margens, simultaneously shows each coast of the Atlantic Ocean, while, in the second gallery, Duas Margens: Pacífico, two sides of the Pacific coasts are presented. Similarly, the work Sobre la igualdaqd y las diferencias I: Casa Gemelas (On equality and difference I: Twin Houses), a photographic series of pairs of at one time identical house façades in Havana shows the forking paths of time in the changes, additions, or deletions that have been made to the structures.
Other works that appear the same reveal their differences. In Sobre la igualdaqd y las diferencias II: a casa ao lado (On equality and differences II: the house next door) Zaccagnini hired two archaeologists, Liesbet Sablon and Sofie Geelen, to excavate two houses destined for destruction on one street in Belgium. The archaeologists created a classification system (hygiene, kitchenware, décor/art, lighting/heating, waste, etc.) to draw out the similarities of the rescued objects from both houses, but their reappearance in the second gallery reveals their differences. The objects’ museological display system, one for each excavated house, has been newly commissioned in Toronto and designed by the twins, the Brothers Dressler, who—in a parallel process (meeting Zaccagnini’s work at a crossroad)–create a display structure from discarded materials found in Toronto’s condominium redevelopment sites, recording the history (date, material) of each component of their integrated display system.
Artist and curator in the exhibition occasionally mirrored each other’s roles. On the one hand, curator Emelie Chhangur has organized a new work for the artist, a choreographed performance of Canadian flight attendants responding in their native language to a series of in-flight safety procedures, two versions shown respectively in the two galleries as video installations. On the other hand, Zaccagnini has taken on Chhangur’s curatorial role of commissioning the vitrines (Rodrigo Matheus), producing multiples for sale (Jogo Memória/Memory Game), and programming the lobbies with video in one by Brazilian artist Almicar Packer and in the other by British artist Simon Faithfull. (The two videos have unintentional affinities.) Creating artworks using curatorial strategies and using artists’ strategies to inform curatorial practice are two other paths of work by Zaccagnini, who is also Director of the Curatorial Department of the Cultural Centre of São Paulo.
The AGYU has also produced Catalogue Traduit, the French version of an ongoing series of artist books by Zaccagnini comprised of commissioned texts by writers in their native tongue responding book by book to particular themes in the artist’s work, each book (Catálogo, Catálogo Traducido, Translated Catalogue) the same but completely different, and each with the addition of a new work. Ten new texts have been commissioned from French writers for Catalogue Traduit, which has been designed by Marilyn Fernandes. It will be available during the exhibition as an autonomous artwork in the two AGYU Bookstores.
Carla Zaccagnini (b. Buenos Aires, 1973) is a visual artist, writer, and curator based in São Paulo. She received her Masters in Poéticas Visuais from the Universidade de São Paulo. Zaccagnini’s work is represented by Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo and has been featured in Cream 3 (Phaidon Press, London, 2003) and in the special edition “50 international emerging artists” by Contemporary magazine (London, 2006). Recent solo shows include Wish (Blow de la Barra Gallery, London, 2007) ogolaid O (MAMAM no Pátio, Recife, 2008) and Bifurcações e encruzilhadas (Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo, 2008). This year she will take part in the XXVIII Bienal de São Paulo.