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Artissima 2021

Viasaterna’s exhibit project for Artissima 2021 presents in the Monologue section the solo show of Cristóbal Gracia (Mexico City, 1987), with a corpus of artworks – paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations – entirely produced over three months of residency at the Lake of Como (Italy).

The artist employs a wide range of iconographic elements, each evoking a system of signs and a code of reference close to Western society, in order to reform its symbolic and sensible dimension through a continuous question to the morphology of culture and its power. This leads to a reflection on the dominion of Western paradigms and on Art’s active questioning role.

In the artworks exhibited here, Gracia uses the tradition of the Mannerist and Renaissance gardens, typical of the residence’s area, together with their archetypes, such as caves, stalagmites, decorative statues with a fantastic, classic and mythological imaginary, which become an opportunity to reflect on our history. The artist pursues a collaborative approach, involving in the production Como’s traditional handicraft and manufacture, as well as layering of employ of different materials like concrete statues connected to garden furniture and digital prints on silk, a typical product of the local industry. The use of glass, evident in the sculptures exhibited here, is symbolic and reminds the luminescence of fireflies through its polychrome and mutable nature. Their light become a symbol of innocence and resistance: here Gracia dialogues with Huberman and Pasolini, finding precisely in the impossibility of witnessing the wonder of fireflies the renewed fascism of a capitalistic society whose excesses condemn the purity of small things.

Gracia’s artistic research originates from historical events, their development and their connection to the present day within the socio-cultural context. Many of his works which were developed in public spaces, including massive installations in museums – of which we recall the most evocative in Hamburger Bahnhof Museum (Berlin, 2017) and Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2019) – attest Gracia’s attention towards politics, historical and social implications of the ‘monumental’. His practice also investigates the spheres of economic, cultural and political perspectives, through the study of the entertainment industry’s and media’s mechanisms as a tool of control.

Booth 8  Corridor Pink B Cristòbal Gracia.  

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