Lombard Freid Projects is pleased to present Cities and Things That Matter, featuring sculpture, installation, video, photography and drawing by Haig Aivazian, Emre Huner, Wilfredo Prieto, Michael Rakowitz, Raqs Media Collective, Nasan Tur and Mai Yamashita + Naoto Kobayashi.
The artists explore the numerous rhythms, structures, stories and transactions of urban life that construct cultural ideologies and shape mankind. Cities, epicenters of social and public space, become the backdrop for the collective concerns of society. Economic trade, public knowledge, free speech, political and personal diplomacy along with structural development and decay are all elements of a contemporary metropolis. The seven-featured artists each use these fundamental cultural components to communicate the state of the present though their particular lenses. The resulting exhibition evaluates the structure of culture today, producing an exhibition that doubles as an anthropological barometer.
Haig Aivazian is an artist, curator and writer born in Lebanon and currently based in New York City. He uses performance, video, installation and sculpture to weave though personal and geo-political narratives in the search for ideological loopholes and short circuits. In his most recent works Aivazian continues to build his series The Unimaginable Things We Build, where he focuses on the world’s tallest man-made structure in an attempt to reconcile the idea of monumental architectural landmarks as nodes in an unrepresentable global network of immaterial capital.
Emre Huner born in Istanbul and based in The Netherlands, works in various media from video, drawing and spatial works. Huner continuously contemplates man’s place within architecture and nature as well as the dangers of industrial progression. His work questions the world humans have created with numerous machines, abandoned buildings and the seemingly endless quest for convenience. In the video_ Juggernaut_, Huner combines found footage from General Motors, NASA and Walt Disney propaganda with his own material. An intimate set of drawings accompany Juggernaut, giving the viewer a glance at the 1960s promise for a utopian future that never came.
Wilfredo Prieto, originally from Cuba and currently based in New York City, offers a refreshingly optimistic point of view in his minimalist installations. In his large-scale piece Mountain, white plinths of varying heights form arranged into a graph of the OPEC record for the price of oil from 1960-2010. The piece speaks to the presence of high art in contemporary society, while remaining open to interpretation by the viewer.
Michael Rakowitz, an American artist based in Chicago, uses his work to inform and empower. In his ongoing series, paraSITE, Rakowitz collaborates with homeless city residents to help them design and construct inflatable shelters. Built to utilize available hot air and bypass city camping laws, these dynamic structures become a whimsically vial for the harsh realities of urban life. Cities features rare paraSITE concept drawings that highlight the influence of 1970s utopian architecture and the Archigram moment of the 1960s. Rakowitz managed to take these sketches from hypothetical to reality, making the imagery that much more effective.
Raqs Media Collective is a prolific and multifaceted arts collective based in New Delhi and founded in 1992 by Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta. The works in Cities and Things that Matter examine the individual within a whole, stressing that each entity is ‘something more and something less than a population’. In We the Fuel, Raqs uses a sequence of x-rays and scans to tell the story of a system made for a ‘canceled future’ that now sits decaying in its own wake. 1/2
Nasan Tur, a German artist based in Berlin, investigates cultural ideologies encoded into everyday life through the city, politics and economy. Tur’s work, marked by its formal simplicity and minimalist vocabulary, invites the viewer to consider the systems of exchange at work in our global society. In Istanbul Says…, a performance and video, Tur spray paints text graffiti over the same patch of gallery wall. Statements of love, angst, violence and public ethos are pulled from the streets of Istanbul and layered on top of one another, leaving nothing but an illegible mass of urban emotion. In contrast, Tur’s Demo Kits combine all the necessary materials for a single protest banner in a convenient, market friendly package.
Yamashita + Kobayashi have been collaborating since first meeting at their high school art club in Chiba, Japan, over a decade ago. Flouting convention by working in tandem, Yasmashita and Kobayashi work together to gently alter preexisting situations and materials. The pair observe natural and sociological patterns, then wittily intervene to enhance or reveal the system’s inherent magic. The playful results of their investigations often seem effortless, despite their intense observational techniques and physically demanding methods of creation. Major League Baseball demonstrates Y+K’s modus operandi perfectly as they transform a baseball game from a frenzied temple of modern devotion into a forum for viewing the stadium’s other inhabitants, a group of birds.