September 16 – November 05, 2005
Curated by Ana Vazquez and David Rodriguez Caballero
Artists: Noriko Ambe, Ten+Goku (Sacre Nobi and Hajime Watanabe), Isabel Ulzurrun, David Rodreguez Caballero
Opening: Friday, September 16th, 6-8pm
Artist’s Talk: Saturday, October 15th, 6-8pm
ISE CULTURAL FOUNDATION is pleased to present the exhibition, “Bonds”, curated by Ana Vazquez, and David Rodreguez Caballero, a curatorial team from Spain. “Bonds” explores one of the main features of the contemporary art arena: the appropriation of symbols from distant cultures. “Bonds” conveys how the artists use the symbols devoid of meanings in order to interpret them on the one hand, from their own cultural contexts and on the other hand, from their own creative mind.
That combination of cultural backgrounds and personal universe elicits both new products and the amplification of the meanings of the symbols.
The symbols presented in this show are renowned icons in their respective Western and Eastern cultures: the Catholic iconography (Saints, Pieta and Virgins), the Age of Enlightenment (books, atlas, encyclopaedia) and the Japanese traditions (zen gardens, origami and kimonos). Noriko Ambe’s elegant and delicate artworks reference geological strata and imaginary landscapes. Ambe’s artworks are always made out of paper. In this artist’s sculptures, this material is beautiful, even sublime. By manipulating layers of paper she invents geographies with a dramatic varnish, as the process is for her as important as the finished product.
In “Bonds”, Noriko Ambe is presenting her two main lines of work. The first one consists on adding layers of white paper which is later manipulated. In the second line She also manipulates (cutting) readymade object, such as newspapers, books, atlases, etc. In her series “Linear Actions” she applies the same process to highly symbolically charged objects like anatomy books. Sacre Nobi (aka Nobi S ) – takes on the catholic iconography “orientalizing” it in some way. The original meaning of the symbols (cross, saints, etc) becomes different. Sacre Nobi- is a native New Yorker but he moved to Japan in the 60′s. The artworks shown at the ISE space are the products of the collaborative duo named Ten+Goku. Ten+Goku, is formed by Sacre Nobi (sculpture) and Hajime Watanabe (photography); their work has been exhibited in New York and Japan since 1999.
The two Cibachrome photographs in the exhibition, The Ryoanji Pieta (40 x 50 inches) and The Tokyo Madonna (40 x 60 inches), were first shown in 1999.
The Ryoanji Pieta depicts one of Sacre Nobi’s lifetime favorite subject. As a child he had the opportunity to see Michelangelo’s 1499 Pieta at the World Fair in Queens, NY. Shortly after, he moved to Japan and visited the Ryoanji gardens in Kyoto. In the eyes of a six-year-old, Piet«¡ and the garden merged in a single vision: a mountain on a sea of stones. In this collaboration, Hajime Watanabe and Sacre Nobi create a composition that stretches the eye and the mind, by setting up a type of diorama. It is a conscious effort to break the viewer away from the subject in order to create a visual experience in the controlled mannerism of Zen.
The Tokyo Madonna emerged when they were taking photos of Ryoanji Pieta. Although the image represents one of the most famous Western icons, its gesture (showing the back of the figure) can imply different meanings. Sacre Nobi and Hajime Watanabe often feel that works of art are an opportunity for viewers to construct a meaning, and the piece turned out to be perfect for that.
Isabel Ulzurrun re-interprets the kimono in her subtle sculptural dresses; however, the final product is far from the original functions and forms of the traditional Japanese costume, since her interventions depart from Western techniques and materials. This artist manipulates the fabrics (raffia, linen, muslin) treating them as if they were books where she places invented stories focused on the couture world. Ulzurrum displays two pieces in this exhibition: in the one hand, she keeps working in the idea of larger-than-life Western kimonos. On the other hand, the artist has created a sculpture that evokes a samurai armour, however, its intention is to portrait a device intended to protect against fear in an extremely poetic way.
The proposal of David Rodriguez Caballero references the Japanese garden and the origami tradition under an iconoclastic perspective. The distinguishing features of this Spanish artist are the use of industrial materials, the lack of iconography, the geometry and the pictorial treatment by means of tri dimensional elements. Rodriguez Caballero conveys a proposal departing from painting parameters that allows him to establish two points of dialogue between East and West. -, At the exhibition space, this Spanish artist is presenting two big format artworks,”Oriental Garden 2005″ and “Western Garden, 2005.”
These five artists bring in their different worlds, establishing intercultural and multidisciplinary dialogues. The viewer will be challenged in terms of cultural identity issues. “Bonds” intends to build bridges not only over disciplines but also over different ways of apprehending various cultural domains.
About the curators:
David Rodriguez is developing a double career both as a curator and an artist. He has worked in the MAM; Museo de Arte Moderno (Mexico City), Museum of Modern Art, MoMA (New York), Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao and New York City) and he is responsible for the Development Area of the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (IVAM) in Valencia, Spain.
Ana Vazquez is an independent writer on lifestyles and cultural issues. She is a Fulbright grantee and holds a Master in Arts (Humanities and Social Thought) by NYU. She has collaborated with the New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York) and the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA (New York). She writes for some Spanish online and printed journals.
As a part of the “Bonds” project, a round table will take place at King Juan Carlos I (New York University). “Spanish artist and curators in New York City” Monday, September 19th from 7 to 10 pm. The panelists: Ana Mar«¿a Torres (independent curator), Xavier Mascaro(artist), Santiago Olmo (art critic and curator), Jose Carlos Casado (artist), David Rodriguez Caballero (artist and curator) and Isabel Ulzurrun (artist) The talk will be moderated by Ana Vazquez.
The discussion will evolve around the question: is there an actual flux between the USA and Spain regarding artists and curators?
Additional support for exhibition is provided by King Juan Carlos I Center (NYU); Casa Asia, Valentina Ceramicas, Centro Cultural Espanol -Miami- and Yupo Corporation.