Simon Preston Gallery is delighted to present Ornament, an exhibition of works by Amie Siegel and Carlos Motta, which will open to the public on Sunday, 22 February and run until 22 March, 2015.
Assembling two distinct projects, the exhibition creates anthropological divisions that evoke historical uncertainties and question the westernizing institutional lens and the cameras that document them. Unfolding through the witness of objects, each of the works chronicle alternative historical lineages, exploring both gender and sexuality. Drawing upon André Malraux’s proposition in ‘Musée Imaginaire’ – ‘The Imaginary Museum of World Sculpture’ that displaces the physical art object and the museum through the photographic image, alternative interpretations emerge.
Amie Siegel’s work extends an associative, accumulative montage as spatial, material configurations that propose relations between photographs, objects and film. With The Modernists (2010), two framed c-prints are placed opposite a video projection, the video and photographic elements together form one work, cross cutting an archive of travel photographs and super-8 films of a husband and wife couple over the 1960s -1980s, as he films and photographs her in front of modernist sculpture the world over. Re-focused and reassembled, these static and moving images examine the domestic camera’s gendered, repetitive relationship to sculpture, fashion, and private/public performance.
Carlos Motta’s multi-part project Nefandus (2013-2014), explores the imposition of European epistemological categories, with a specific focus on sexuality, onto native cultures during the Spanish and Portuguese Conquest of the Americas and the early colonial years. Included in the exhibition is the film essay Naufragios (Shipwreck), which was filmed throughout Lisbon’s historical sites. The film presents a fictional adaptation of a text by Brazilian anthropologist, historian and gay rights activist Luiz Mott that documents the unfortunate story of a Portuguese man called Luiz Delgado, whose life was defined by innumerable confrontations with the inquisitorial system for being a sodomite. In addition, Motta exhibits, My dearly beloved R. (Monument to Alexander von Humboldt), a photographic triptych that depicts a monument to geographer and explorer Alexander von Humboldt accompanied by a love letter written by the scientist to his soldier Reinhard von Haeften. The piece brings to light von Humboldt’s sexual orientation, a fact that has been systematically hidden from historical narratives about his life and work.
Amie Siegel was born in 1974 in Chicago, USA. Her work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions including Amie Siegel: Provenance at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, as well as solo and group exhibitions at MoMA/PS1, NY; MAXXI, Rome; Hayward Gallery, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Walker Art Center, MN; CCA Wattis, San Francisco; Kunstmuseum Stuttgart and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin. Her films have screened at the Cannes Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, The Museum of Modern Art, New York and The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Siegel has been a fellow of the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm, Guggenheim Foundation, and is a recipient of the ICA Boston Foster Prize, a 2012 Sundance Institute Film Fund award and the inaugural Forum Expanded Award at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival.
Carlos Motta was born in 1978 in Bogotá, Colombia. He graduated from the Whitney ISP (2006), was named a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow (2008), and won the Main Prize—Future Generation Art Prize of the PinchukArtCentre in Kiev (2014). His work has been exhibited internationally at Tate Modern, London; The New Museum and MoMA/PS1, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Museu Serralves, Porto; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; Castello di Rivoli, Turin His work was recently included in Under the Sun: Art from Latin America Today at the Guggenheim Museum, New York and in the X Gwangju Biennale A survey exhibition of his work is currently on view at Röda Sten Konsthall, Gothenburg through March 2015.