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Antena

08/10 2013 – 09/14 2013


Mendes Wood DM is pleased to present Antena, Cuban-American artist Luis Gispert’s first solo exhibition in Brazil. Through photographs that have a close technical connection to his sculptures and ready-mades, the exhibition portrays his obsession with the Caribbean modernism, the Black Power movement in America and the correlation of African music in Cuba and the United States.

In Antena, Gispert investigates clandestine transmission systems where so far secret stories and narratives are unveiled. By the use of cultural portraits and exaggerated stereotypes, the artist places the spectator in a place of doubt, where the background is the reality of obsolescence of compulsive consumption objects. The artist makes references to the Cuban cultural scene during Castro’s government and speaks of a time in delay, of a ruined economy, but concomitantly of a lively perception of the human condition.

In one of his works Gispert refers to the Cuban abstract painter Carmen Herrera, who sold her first painting at age 89. The artist tells Herrera’s story in the piece entitled Carmensita, What Have You Done? (¿Carmensita, Qué has hecho?) included in this exhibition. In the triptych, Gispert presents an American Blues musician and a Cuban troubadour, solely differentiated by a switch of the protagonist’s musical instrument. Thus, he uses the stereotypes of poverty on one side and the stereotypes of excess on the other, showing us that the whole story could be invented in his studio, in the same way it happened to Carmen Herrera whose art was only discovered when she moved to the States.

In his work, spectators are led to impasses and contradictions organized from the correlation between the photographs and their ex-objects, which together induce the perception and understanding of the transmutation of values the artist conveys. In pieces such as Nappy Light and Eileen, Gispert takes disparate objects and transforms them into signs of desire and consumption. A gold chain and Afro wig lead into a mid-century Danish lamp; the E1027 by Eileen Grey table is topped with a fake chrome hubcap. The artistic falsification of these objects is a strategy by which Gispert strains the relationships between intrinsic and constructed value.

Through a mask with obvious theatrical sets made in the studio, Gispert intuitively reveals the randomness of the values and the crudity of their contexts. In this way, he raises important questions about these intrinsic and fake values, about real characters that become fictional and about stories whose central axis is the fragility of our perception. After walking the correlative path of his works, spectators get lost in a maze of values, in their own individual selves and social alter egos of the spectral construction we live in: where the memory of who we really are is always at a close call.

Luis Gispert was born in Jersey City in 1972 and he lives and works in New York. His works has been exhibited at 2002 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and internationally at galleries and museums such the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, Art Pace in Texas, the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Palazzo Brocherasio in Turin, and the Royal Academy in London. Gispert is represented by Mary Boone Gallery in New York and has participated in exhibitions with Gagosian Gallery, Andrea Rosen Gallery, and Deitch Projects, New York.

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