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Culatra

03/03 2012 – 31/ 03 2012


When, upon the victory of the Allied troops on February 23, 1945 against the Japanese army, Joe Rosenthal asked a group of Yankee soldiers to pose for his camera, heroically raising the weight of the American flag. Amid the rubble of the devastated Iwo Jima landscape, what was made explicit there was not simply the abstract and arbitrary nature of the historical narrative, but rather the brutal mismatch then established between the objective reality of the facts and the symbolic dimension of its political-historical extension. Viewed from a certain angle, the staging of Rosenthal’s photograph is less a mere misrepresentation of the effectiveness of the event, but rather an attempt to re-insert elements of the psychic and symbolic into the historical material dilacerated by war. Ultimately, these elements are what shape and define our understanding of history, both inside and out.

In his first solo show at Mendes Wood, Deyson Gilbert makes use of a variety of objects, materials and images in an attempt to investigate the constitutive structure of the ever present rift between value and image, image and object, object and subject. Among the new works presented, is Culatra (study for monochromatic red), which lends its name to the exhibition. In the show, viewers will encounter the work’s minimal, formal manifestation: a narrow invisible laser beam that crosses the whole exhibition space, projecting a small, shining red dot on the walls and visitors’ bodies. The viewer will quickly realize that the light comes from outside the gallery space, – more specifically, from one of the windows of the building across the street. There, as if awaiting a sniper, lies a constantly loaded gun.

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