Viasaterna's exhibition project for Artissima 2021 presents in the Monologue section the solo show of Cristóbal Gracia (Mexico City, 1987), with a body of works - paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations - entirely produced during his three-month residency on Lake Como.
The artist uses a wide range of iconographic elements, each able to evoke a system of signs and codes of reference taken from Western society, in order to reform its symbolic and sensitive dimension through a continuous questioning on the morphology of culture and its power. In the works exhibited here, Gracia uses the tradition of Mannerist and Renaissance gardens typical of the areas surrounding the residence, together with their archetypes, such as caves, stalagmites, decorative statues of fairy-tale, classical and mythological imagery, which become an opportunity to reflect on our history.
The artist searches for a collaborative approach, involving in the production the processes of traditional craftsmanship and manufacturing Como, as well as the stratification of use of certain materials such as concrete statues related to garden furniture and digital prints on silk, typical of local industry. The inclusion of glass, evident in the sculptures exhibited here, is symbolic and recalls the glow of fireflies with its polychrome and iridescent properties. Their light becomes a symbol of innocence and resistance: Gracia dialogues in this way with Huberman and Pasolini, finding in the impossibility of attending the spectacle of fireflies the renewed fascism of a capitalist society whose excesses condemn the purity of small things.
Gracia's artistic research draws its origins from historical events, from their development, from their connection to the present with respect to the socio-cultural context. Many of her works that have found a place in public spaces, including large installations within museums - including the most striking ones at Hamburger Bahnhof Museum (Berlin, 2017) and Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2019) - testify to Gracia's attention to the political, historical, and social implications of the "monumental." In addition, her practice explores the realm of economic, cultural, and political perspectives through the study of the entertainment industry and its media mechanisms as a means of control.
Booth 8 Pink Corridor B Cristòbal Gracia