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Miguel Palma: In Image We Trust

Nicholas Robinson Gallery
535 West 20th Street, 212-560-9075
January 6 - February 12, 2011
Reception: Thursday, January 6, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Nicholas Robinson Gallery is pleased to present the first New York solo exhibition of Portuguese artist, Miguel Palma.

Palma’s work most often consists of sculptural pieces and large-scale installations created from mechanized, industrial and sundry other found objects. The various elements are incorporated in intricate, cyclical and/or self-sustaining systems. Palma’s projects routinely explore the world’s hurried technological development, proposing alternative, and often ironic, paths that could be taken with the same technical knowledge at our disposal.

Palma’s activity unfolds as that of a sculptor, draughtsman, electrician, engineer and scientist. Enamored of boy’s toys – guns, tools, trucks, cars, planes, boats – and all sorts of gadgets, Palma transforms these items of play into protagonists in his animated organisms, simultaneously reflecting the menacing monumentality of industry and critiquing its dominance over our civilization. Both fascination and suspicion abound.

In the show’s eponymous work an iron structure supports a large, rotating disc. On top of this disc a myriad of objects; male and females dolls, militaria, geopolitical maps, vehicles and tools of all kind – a chaotic mess. A fighter plane conceals a surveillance camera and records the disc’s rotation, a projection of which is screened in real time in another locale. Watching the footage it is easy to believe in the recorded image more than in the actual thing. We forget easily, but through the image, we believe. Reality is thus presented as a curiosity, as its facsimile appropriates the de facto authority of apparent verity.

Based in Lisbon, Portugal, Palma has exhibited worldwide, most recently at the Bloomberg Space and Whitechapel Gallery in London, at Prospect 1 in New Orleans, and Biennial Zer01 in San Jose, California. In April 2011 he will present a major retrospective of his work at the Contemporary Art Museum of the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal.

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