Paradise Found: Latin American and Spanish Art takes over Abandoned Marble Factory in Brooklyn
An eternal state of bliss, purity and uninterrupted comfort may be the definitions that “paradise” is usually associated with —but what happens when we actually enter such an ideal realm? Disappointment seems to be the answer, as this contemporary art exhibition in an abandoned marble factory in Brooklyn, NY, let us understand. Staged as a “post-apocalyptic Garden of Eden” by curator Ana Perez Escoto, the exhibition “Paradise Syndrome” takes its name from a psychological condition where a person feels empty and disappointed after achieving all of his or her goals.
Although psychologists haven’t officially recognised this condition, as a “syndrome” it afflicts extremely wealthy and privileged individuals who have fulfilled all their dreams and have nothing else to wish for or look forward to. The exhibition picks up this theme of excessive material wealth and debauchery and transfers it into an almost dilapidated setting, where the abandoned factory’s debris and working surfaces are mixed with the actual artworks, many of which were created in situ using found pieces of wood, marble, brick and metal.
In symphony with its subject, the exhibition achieves a sense of something frustratingly fleeting and unobtainable, as seen for example in the constant movement and morphing of Juan Fontanive’s motorised flipbook of exotic birds (“Ornithology I”, 2015) and the ever-shifting kaleidoscopic patterns in Alois Kronschlaeger’s “Multicolored Cube Configuration #2” (2015). Meanwhile, Mario Navarro’s assemblage “Marmor Isodomum” (2015) brings together a neat and well-organised collection of discarded marble pieces, as if the overlooked scraps and leftovers of luxurious objects that decorate opulent homes have come together to form a little utopia of their own.
Across the bone-bare industrial room, Ishmael Randall Weeks’ untitled installation with live plants (2015) plays with futility and impermanence, since the artist has used the plants as stencils to spray paint on the white surface behind them. Traversing this twisted workshop of defeated happiness, one realises how our fabricated notion of ideal existence, our “Paradise”, is both chimaeric and, ironically, comical in its ambition.
The exhibition “Paradise Syndrome” is the latest pop-up event from PEANA, a platform for contemporary Latin American and Spanish art founded by Ana Perez Escoto, and will remain on display at the former factory of “Puccio European Marble Works” till November 18, 2015. Participating artists include Silvina Arismendi, Adrian S. Bara, Aldo Chaparro, Juan Fontanive, Ricardo Gonzalez, Alois Kronschlaeger, Alberto Lopez, Norman Mooney, Mario Navarro, Ishmael Randall Weeks, Francisco Ugarte and Alexis Zambrano.
Curator: Ana Perez Escoto