The Fan and the Shit is, in a sense, a departure for Almanza. Possibility takes new direction. The in-your-face approach and raw materials used to create imposing “active” physical structures in his earlier works transitions to a more subtle, contemplative approach. The equilibrium of forces and materials give way to create relationships with objects that create situations in which the viewer is faced with challenges to commonly held perceptions.
In Magnan Emrich Contemporary, Almanza creates Out to Lunch (Closed for the day). Addressing ideas of safety measures and codes, the artist wraps and ties chain links into knots creating a huge ball suspended from the ceiling rafters of the gallery. Its’ own weight pushes the chain to its established load limit. Visitors entering the space are confronted with the threatening structure. Will it break from its own weight? Do we trust the safety codes that are imposed on us? Or, does one assume that in a gallery setting it must be safe to walk under or around? Perceptions of danger become individual experiences.
For Magnan Projects, the artist stacked glass cubes atop one another in presentation-like cases RPS (you might kick my ass but that feeble adversary behind you will kick yours). The materials seem an uncharacteristically pristine choice in their fragility and strength, value and purpose. Each case displays one of three objects representing Rock, Paper and Scissors – a humorous twist on the child’s game. Although “static” they are concerned with the fragile nature of placing objects in glass encasements in potentially precarious situations. Conversely, the installation is “…almost like a still life, something captured in time. People attend to shows where there is danger involved, like the circus or the bullfights. I think the spectator deeply wants to see an accident.”
Alejandro Almanza (1977, Mexico) received his BFA from the University of Texas, El Paso. Most recently Almanza exhibited at CIFO (Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation), Miami; Art in General, New York City; Soap Factory, Minneapolis; Centro Nacional de las Artes, Mexico City; The S-Files 007, El Museo del Barrio, New York City and Queen International 2006: Everything All at Once, New York. He is the recipient of numerous awards including CIFO (2008) and National Funds for Culture and the Arts (FONCA) Programa Jovenes Creadores, Mexico City (2007). The artist currently resides and works in Mexico City and New York City. A full color hard-bound book will be available with essays by Eleanor Heartney and José Luis Cortés S. and an interview with Elizabeth Grady.