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On Sociology (The Civilization of Speculation)

04/06 2013 – 04/27 2013


Mendes Wood DM is pleased to present Mexican artist Stefan Brüggemann’s first exhibition in Brazil. The exhibition will take place in partnership with Pivô, an artist-run project space in Oscar Niemeyer’s landmark Copan building in downtown São Paulo.

On Sociology (The Civilization of Speculation) expands on the artist’s longstanding interest in the formative aspect of language, and it’s often overlooked significance in the determination of culture. For the exhibition, Brüggemann has filled out the idiosyncratic dimensions of the gallery with a site-specific installation of mirrors running wall to wall, floor to ceiling. The faces of the mirrors are calligraphically obscured by sentences – drawn from newspaper headlines and the last lines of popular movies – scrawled in blue, red and silver spray paint.

With a sense of spectacle reminiscent of a funhouse hall of mirrors, the spectator is introduced to a sense of ludic distortion, hilarity and visual upheaval. Mirrors, like language, are fluid and transitional; words pass like thoughts and reflections pass like shadows in the chasm of their depths. By sourcing popular language, Brüggemann points out the importance of language in the shaping of our perception. Movies and news media are essential reflections of our culture, at once influencing and manipulating the public’s comprehension of society. For the artist, text siphoned from headlines and cinematic dialogue functions as a sort of maxim or idée reçue, offering tantalizing insight into the construction of social values. In the installation these maxims hover enigmatically over the viewer’s mirror image.

In On Sociology (The Civilization of Speculation), Brüggemann seamlessly employs a pop aesthetic while holding a critical distance towards its sociological context.

Stefan Brüggemann (Mexico City, 1975) has recently exhibited his work at the Kunshalle Bern (Switzerland), Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, Yvon Lambert Galerie (Paris), La Coleccion Jumex (Mexico), Galeria Parra Romero (Madrid), Schrin Kunsthalle (Frankfurt), Museum of Contemporary Art (Cincinnati), Fundacion Serralves (Porto), Museum of Contemporary Art (Antwerp), Mies Van Dar Rohe Pavillion (Barcelona), Bass Museum (Miami), Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Rufino Tamayo (Mexico City).

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