Gabriel Sierra discusses his work and new Renaissance Society project with Megan Sullivan. This conversation took place as part of the opening reception of Sierra's exhibition on May 3, 2015.
Sierra is intrigued by the language of man-made objects and the dimensions of the spaces in which we live, work, and think. His practice employs a variety of techniques – from sculpture and spatial interventions to performance and texts – to examine how the human body functions in relation to its environment. Originally trained in architecture and design, Sierra’s work draws on the history of Latin American Modernism.
His project at the Renaissance Society consists of a group of constructions to stand in or to walk over, which relate abstractly to the idea of inhabiting different moments of space and time. The artist considers the title to be the most important component of the exhibition: it changes every hour to frame the specific moment in which the visitor experiences the work. This shifting title experiments with how environments, and the exhibition in particular, are perceived across time. Each of the eight titles introduces a different logic to the space of the gallery. (The title on the entrance wall will be change hourly keeping the format regularly used by the institution.)
The installation consists of 14 areas or structures, each with a suggestion for engaging with it. These instructions function in a similar way to the exhibition title by influencing the behavior of the visitor, whose actions are required to activate the works. The combination of spaces and times creates an infinite number of phenomenological perspectives on the exhibition.
The constructions and their related instructions refer to the transitional realm of the antechamber. They are not destinations in themselves, but passages of experience leading from one to another, momentary neutral zones.
Gabriel Sierra (born 1975, San Juan Nepomuceno, Colombia) lives and works in Bogotá. Recent solo exhibitions include ggaabbrriieellssiieerrrraa at Kurimanzutto, Mexico City, Mexico (2013) and Thus Far at Peephole, Milan, Italy (2013). His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including Do Objeto para o Mundo, COLEÇÃO INHOTIM, Itaú Cultutal, São Paulo (2015),Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative: Latin America, Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014), Impulse, Reason, Sense, Conflict at Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami (2014) and The 2013 Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2013).
Megan Sullivan is Assistant Professor of Art History and the College at the University of Chicago. Her scholarship focuses on twentieth-century Latin American art, with an emphasis on modernism and abstraction.