Simon Preston Gallery is delighted to present Cartography of Empty Spaces*, a group exhibition of works by Mariana Castillo Deball, Jumana Manna, Hans Schabus and Gabriel Sierra which will open to the public on Wednesday, 1 April and run until 3 May 2015.
The exhibition brings together a collection of artifacts sharing formal commonalities and connected through processes of transfiguration. Each artist uses abstraction as a process applied onto concrete objects, evoking concepts from material and cultural forms. Moments of transformation, where abstraction becomes representation, emerge, disrupting systems of facticity and allowing newly established values to unfold.
Mariana Castillo Deball takes on the role of explorer and anthropologist, transferring her emergent research into artistic form. The exhibition includes Vista de Ojos no. 78, a large xylographic print, transferred from a fragment of wooden pavement engraved with a drawing of one of the oldest depictions of Mexico City: Santa Cruz Map. The original was created by an indigenous cartographer and illustrates traditional life as it merges with the beginning of colonization. Currently housed in Uppsala, Sweden, the third party custodians further draw into question our understanding of culture through the cataloguing of objects.
Working across video, sculpture and installation, Jumana Manna looks at human identity through the construction of historical and cultural narratives. Referring to her sculptures as extractions of the narratives she explores through moving image, Menace of Origins stems from a video portrait of macho culture in Silwan, East Jerusalem. Historically a site of early archaeological digs, Manna re-examines the contemporary locale through this device. A series of cast objects of contemporary detritus, resembling ruined relics, are removed from their original functionality becoming objects of abjection.
Hans Schabus is known for disrupting assumed social and cultural order, applied through acts of displacement in site-specific installations and sculptural intervention. In Innere Sicherheit, whose title translates as ‘Homeland Security’, Schabus dismantles a universal object — the soccer ball — by puncturing and exposing the interior inflatable sphere. This rupture reveals the internal structure of the object, the ‘seele’ or ‘soul’, exposing its more vulnerable inner self, which is intrinsically connected to the patterned, toughened exterior.
Employing the languages of architecture and design, Gabriel Sierra challenges established rules of functionality. Reflected through manipulated doorways, spliced walls and geometric abstraction, Sierra allows viewers to experience the ordinary through powerfully subtle interventions. Untitled (reparación) & Sin título both make reference to a ‘nest’, a recurring motif in Sierra’s work, alluding to a modern Bauhaus nest as a reference to the origins of modernist ideologies.
* ‘Relingos: The Cartography of Empty Spaces’ is an excerpt from Sidewalks, a collection of essays by Mexican novelist Valeria Luiselli.
Mariana Castillo Deball (born 1975) lives and works in Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include kurimanzutto, Mexico City, 2014, Chisenhale Gallery, London, 2013; CCA, Glasgow, 2013; Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, 2010; Kunsthalle St. Gallen, 2009. She has participated in the 8th Berlin Biennale, 2014; dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, 2012; ILLUMInations, the 54th Venice Biennale (2011); Migros Museum, Zurich (2010); Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, 2010; The Athens Biennial, 2009; Manifesta 7, 2008. Deball received the Nationalgalerie für junge Kunst Award in Berlin in 2013, the Zurich Art Prize in 2012 and the Prix de Rome in 2004.
Jumana Manna (born 1987) lives and works in Berlin. Solo exhibitions include Chisenhale Gallery, London (forthcoming); Sculpture Center, New York, 2014; CRG Gallery, New York, 2013; Kunsthall, Oslo, 2013. Other group exhibitions include The National Museum of Art, Oslo, 2014; Institute of Contemporary Art, London, 2013. She has participated in the 11th Sharjah Biennale, 2013; the Performa 13 Biennial, New York, 2013. In 2012, she received The Young Palestinian Artist Award from the Qattan Foundation.
Hans Schabus (born 1970) lives and works Vienna, Austria. He has recently participated in the Colombo Art Biennale 2012, Sri Lanka; Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana 2011; Berlin Biennale 2010, Germany; Biennale of Sydney 2008, Australia; Liverpool Biennial 2006, England; Turin Triennial 2005, Italy; and the Austrian Pavilion, Venice Biennial 2005, Italy. Recent solo presentations at MAK Center, Los Angeles; Culturgest, Lisbon; Institut d’art Contemporain, Villeurbanne; Museum of Contemporary Art – 21er Haus, Vienna; The Curve – Barbican Art Gallery, London; SITE Sante Fe, New Mexico; Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz; Kerstin Engholm Galerie, Vienna; Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris; Zero, Milan.
Gabriel Sierra (born 1975) lives and works in Bogotá. Solo exhibitions include Peephole, Milan, 2013; Casas Reigner Gallery, Bogotá, 2013. His work has been included in Under the Same Sun, Guggenheim, New York, 2013; Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, 2013; Do it outside (curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist), Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, 2013; Shanghai Biennale 2012; New Museum Triennial: The Ungovernables, New York, 2012; Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, 2012; the 12th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, 2011. Sierra has a forthcoming solo exhibition at The Renaissance Society, Chicago.