Illusions Daros

13|09|2014 – 13|02|2015

Casa Daros, Río de Janeiro

Casa Daros, Rio de Janeiro

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Is art illusion?

Is art real?

Is art more real than reality?

What is reality?

Illusion?

Luis Camnitzer

Born in 1937 in Lübeck, Germany, raised and educated in Uruguay
Lives and works in Great Neck/New York, USA, and Valdottavo, Italy

Los Carpinteros

Marco Antonio Castillo Valdés (*1971, Cuba) and Dagoberto Rodríguez Sánchez (*1969, Cuba)
live and work in Madrid, Spain

José Damasceno

Born in 1968 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Lives and works in Rio de Janeiro

Mauricio Alejo

Born in 1969 in Mexico City, Mexico
Lives and works in New York, USA

Liliana Porter

Born in 1941 in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Lives and works in New York, USA

Leandro Erlich

Born in 1973 in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Lives and works Montevideo, Uruguay, and Buenos Aires

Teresa Serrano

Born in 1936 in Mexico City, Mexico
Lives and works in Mexico City, and New York, USA

Fernando Pareja
& Leidy Chavez

Fernando Pareja (*1979, Popayán, Colombia)
and Leidy Chavez (*1984, Popayán, Colombia)
live and work in Bogotá, Colombia

José Toirac

Born in 1966 in Guantánamo, Cuba
Lives and works in Havana, Cuba

Exhibition

About the Exhibition

“Illusions” reveals a view of the ambiguous and complex, difficult to interpret spaces that swing freely back and forth between a supposed reality and so-called illusion.
This exhibition is an invitation to greater conscious perception; to thinking, and to a deeper understanding that might lead to more far-reaching insights able to sharpen our ability to discern the meaning of reality as it relates to illusion.

Curated by Hans-Michael Herzog and Katrin Steffen

Visit the Exhibition

Casa Daros

Opened in March of 2013, Casa Daros is a space for art, education and communication dedicated to contemporary Latin American art. The institution occupies a 1866 neoclassical building, in Rio de Janeiro’s Botafogo neighborhood, and is connected to the Daros Latinamerica Collection, based in Zurich, Switzerland.
In addition to exhibitions, Casa Daros organizes a wide range of activities, such as workshops, multipliers training, meetings with artists, and films, performances and presentations, among others, in addition to housing a library specialized in contemporary Latin American art, a store, and Mira! café and restaurant.

casadaros.net

Daros Latinamerica

The Daros Latinamerica Collection, based in Zurich, is one of the most comprehensive collections of contemporary art from Latin America. Currently, it comprises over 1.200 works by 120 artists, pieces created from the 1960s to the present day.
Its collection activities are guided not by the striving for encyclopedic completeness but rather by the persuasive expressive power and significance of works of art, whether within the oeuvre of a particular artist, or against the backdrop of art history. The works acquired for the collection are selected for their legibility on the greatest variety of levels and their ability to address more profound complexes of aesthetic, social and human issues.

daros-latinamerica.net

Credits Microsite

Publisher

Daros Latinamerica AG

Direction

Domingo Eduardo Ramos

Design and Development

Eyekon AG


Special thanks to Hans-Michael Herzog and Daniel Ilar; and to the teams of Daros Latinamerica and Casa Daros, in particular to Katrin Steffen and Maria Luiza Sacknies


Copyright & Disclaimer

Photo Credits

Iñaki Domingo, Courtesy Ivory Press (Los Carpinteros: 16m) | Ignacio Iasparra, Courtesy Galería Ruth Benzacar (Erlich: Cambiadores) | Julián Lineros (Portrait Camnitzer) | Peter Schälchli (Camnitzer: Envelope, Thi s Is a Mirror, Boxes, Landscape as an Attitude; Porter: all works; Serrano: 5 Rolling Stones, Blown Mold, Del mismo diámetro) | Jordi Socías (Portrait Los Carpinteros) | Sung Pyo Hong (Portrait Damasceno) | Dominique Uldry (Camnitzer: Arbitrary Objects, Fragment of a Cloud, Living Room; Damasceno: O presságio seguinte; Erlich: Piedras, Las puertas) | Bernardo Winitskowski (Home)

illusions
info

Arbitrary Objects and Their Titles

Luis Camnitzer1979/2010

Found objects and pencil on paper on wall
Dimensions variable

Found objects have been randomly affixed to the wall, appended to each a handwritten label whose irregular contours give them, too, the look of flotsam and jetsam—terms that seem to have been wrested from a complex whole. And indeed, the arrangement is entirely coincidental, its narrative coherence supplied only by the viewer’s mental participation and assimilation of each element into his or her own personal context. Although objects and terms alike are as open as possible, they can be assembled to form a whole, while at the same time making clear just how much each individual viewer’s perception differs.
Maren Welsch, 2010

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Fragment of a Cloud

Luis Camnitzer1967

Black spray paint on cotton wool and acrylic glass
35 × 50.3 × 1 cm

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Envelope

Luis Camnitzer1967

Series of ten etchings with rubber stamp
41 × 34.5 cm each

The geometric shapes used in “Envelope”—two squares, one inside the other and connected with diagonal lines—are identical on all sheets, each, however, bearing a different caption: “envelope,” “tunnel,” “painting,” “window,” “screen,” “room,” “grid,” “box,” “cube,” and “roof.” In conformance with the democratic underpinning of his thought, Camnitzer offers his viewer various ways to interpret these shapes and thus rebels against what he sees as the doctrinaire ideology and strict formal canon of Minimal Art. He also addresses the relations of speech and representation, and demonstrates the extent to which the observer’s perception of space is steered by linguistic information.
Maren Welsch, 2010

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This Is a Mirror. You Are a Written Sentence

Luis Camnitzer1966–1968

Vacuum formed polystyrene
48.4 × 62.5 × 1.5 cm

Among Camnitzer’s first Conceptual works is a synthetic board bearing the following text: “This Is a Mirror. You Are a Written Sentence.” The statement is per se incomprehensible, ostensibly eschewing any logical construction. This association of two absurdities heightens the viewers’ consternation, and with it their curiosity, and the piece becomes an inquiry into the power of language beyond the merely declaratory.
Maren Welsch, 2010

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Real edge of the line that divides reality from fiction

Luis Camnitzer1974–1975

Wire, engraved brass plaque, glass, and wood
34.8 × 24.9 × 5 cm

In the 1970s Camnitzer shifted the main focus of his artistic work to manufacturing objects, among which the “Boxes” enjoy special significance. These wooden frames with glass fronts and backs bear a brass plaque on their lower section into which the title of each work — in English or Spanish — has been engraved. Each box (the artist made over 50) is fitted out only sparingly with additional elements. While viewers think the brass plaques contain an explanation of such elements, visible within the boxes, the texts were in fact created first. And yet they are not, for all that, illustrations, since it is only in interaction and with the viewer’s cognitive input that image and text produce a narrative whole.
Maren Welsch, 2010

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Woman looking ...

Luis Camnitzer1974

Laminated b/w photograph, engraved brass plaque, glass, and wood
37.7 × 25.4 × 5 cm

In the 1970s Camnitzer shifted the main focus of his artistic work to manufacturing objects, among which the “Boxes” enjoy special significance. These wooden frames with glass fronts and backs bear a brass plaque on their lower section into which the title of each work — in English or Spanish — has been engraved. Each box (the artist made over 50) is fitted out only sparingly with additional elements. While viewers think the brass plaques contain an explanation of such elements, visible within the boxes, the texts were in fact created first. And yet they are not, for all that, illustrations, since it is only in interaction and with the viewer’s cognitive input that image and text produce a narrative whole.
Maren Welsch, 2010

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Forma determinada por la conexión de los puntos...

(Shape determined by the connection of the external points of the text describing the shape)

Luis Camnitzer1972–1974

Brass object, engraved brass plaque, glass, and wood
35 × 25.1 × 5 cm

In the 1970s Camnitzer shifted the main focus of his artistic work to manufacturing objects, among which the “Boxes” enjoy special significance. These wooden frames with glass fronts and backs bear a brass plaque on their lower section into which the title of each work — in English or Spanish — has been engraved. Each box (the artist made over 50) is fitted out only sparingly with additional elements. While viewers think the brass plaques contain an explanation of such elements, visible within the boxes, the texts were in fact created first. And yet they are not, for all that, illustrations, since it is only in interaction and with the viewer’s cognitive input that image and text produce a narrative whole.
Maren Welsch, 2010

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Pencil drawing ...

Luis Camnitzer1974–1975

Glass bottle with erasures, engraved brass plaque, glass, and wood
34.9 × 24.9 × 5 cm

In the 1970s Camnitzer shifted the main focus of his artistic work to manufacturing objects, among which the “Boxes” enjoy special significance. These wooden frames with glass fronts and backs bear a brass plaque on their lower section into which the title of each work — in English or Spanish — has been engraved. Each box (the artist made over 50) is fitted out only sparingly with additional elements. While viewers think the brass plaques contain an explanation of such elements, visible within the boxes, the texts were in fact created first. And yet they are not, for all that, illustrations, since it is only in interaction and with the viewer’s cognitive input that image and text produce a narrative whole.
Maren Welsch, 2010

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El instrumento y su obra

(The Tool and Its Work)

Luis Camnitzer1976

Pencil, string, engraved brass plaque, glass, and wood
35.1 × 24.9 × 5 cm

In the 1970s Camnitzer shifted the main focus of his artistic work to manufacturing objects, among which the “Boxes” enjoy special significance. These wooden frames with glass fronts and backs bear a brass plaque on their lower section into which the title of each work — in English or Spanish — has been engraved. Each box (the artist made over 50) is fitted out only sparingly with additional elements. While viewers think the brass plaques contain an explanation of such elements, visible within the boxes, the texts were in fact created first. And yet they are not, for all that, illustrations, since it is only in interaction and with the viewer’s cognitive input that image and text produce a narrative whole.
Maren Welsch, 2010

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Living Room

Luis Camnitzer1969/2010

Photocopy on adhesive vinyl on wall and floor
Overall dimensions variable

Courtesy of the artist and Alexander Gray Associates, New York

In 1969, at the behest of the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas, Venezuela, Camnitzer devised a complete living room by affixing photocopied words throughout the entire exhibition space in such a way as to mark the location of the real items. The most amazing thing about the piece was how well it functioned: visitors walked over the area labeled “rug,” but avoided standing on the “table” with its place settings labeled in detail. By way of linguistic denotation, Camnitzer’s “Living Room” not only gives free rein to the viewers’ imagination, but is also able to directly influence their behavior and produce a spatial network of relationships.
Maren Welsch, 2010

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Portrait of the Artist

Luis Camnitzer1991/2010

Fan, wire, and pencil
Dimensions variable

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Landscape as an Attitude

Luis Camnitzer1979

B/w photograph, laminated
28 × 35.5 cm

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16m

Los Carpinteros2010

Fabric, plastic, and metal
95 x 1600 x 60 cm

The installation consists of 200 black suit jackets over white shirts, both of which have been cut with scissors, leaving irregular holes on the right. Looking into these holes we see how they visually form a dark tunnel measuring sixteen meters in length, at the end of which we catch a glimpse of light. In actual fact, the tunnel is an illusion, for it exists only insofar as the 200 jackets are arranged in a row, giving rise to an inner sculpture of empty space on the border between the real and the imaginary.
Through serialization, the multiplication of objects (in this case, mutilated black jackets on mutilated white shirts) in constructions evocative of Pop Art and postminimalism, the artists create a huge visual poem, a meta-object with numerous poetic reverberations and social and political undertones. Once again, by decontextualizing and manipulating them, these artists transform and recode everyday objects into aesthetic-political artifacts.
Orlando Britto Jinorio, 2014

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O presságio seguinte (experiência sobre a visibilidade de uma substância dinâmica)

(The Following Omen (Experiment about the Visibility of a Dynamic Substance))

José Damasceno1997

Mannequin, cloth and thread
Approx. 660 cm length, ø 170 cm

Only few works can, like “O presságio seguinte,” overcome in a manner that is so natural in appearance, the opposition between science and the poetic, fantasy and reality, as if these opposing worlds were in fact but one. The threads that draw the body in space are in the end nothing more than a bridge that leads us, unexpectedly, from the world we know to one of imagination.
Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, 2010

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Crack, Line
Twig, Hole

Mauricio Alejo2002–2003

Single channel videos
color / sound

Mauricio Alejo’s videos present seemingly straightforward images that are revealed to be illusory by means of simple actions or interventions. His works mischievously explore the nature of the three-dimensional space in which they are produced, the two-dimensional surface on which they are shown, and the mental and imaginative spaces they evoke.
Ralph Rugoff, 2005

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Scratch

Liliana Porter1974

Etching and aquatint
76 x 56.5 cm

I tried to work with elements I found simpler, more banal or less charged with meaning to ensure the work was closer to a question than an assertion, that it welcomed more considerations and more possible meanings. That it was not a closed work. This gave rise to works where I used a nail, a thread, or a shadow; works in which empty space emerged, i.e. the concept of non-place. Since then I’ve been interested in the subject of time and the relationship between representation and reality.
What interests me about the visual confusion in these works is the questioning of the substance of reality and time. The distance between words and things, so to speak.
Liliana Porter, 2014

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Nail

Liliana Porter1972

Silkscreen and string
76 x 57 cm

I tried to work with elements I found simpler, more banal or less charged with meaning to ensure the work was closer to a question than an assertion, that it welcomed more considerations and more possible meanings. That it was not a closed work. This gave rise to works where I used a nail, a thread, or a shadow; works in which empty space emerged, i.e. the concept of non-place. Since then I’ve been interested in the subject of time and the relationship between representation and reality.
What interests me about the visual confusion in these works is the questioning of the substance of reality and time. The distance between words and things, so to speak.
Liliana Porter, 2014

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Stitch

Liliana Porter1970

Soft-ground etching and string
75.5 x 56 cm

I tried to work with elements I found simpler, more banal or less charged with meaning to ensure the work was closer to a question than an assertion, that it welcomed more considerations and more possible meanings. That it was not a closed work. This gave rise to works where I used a nail, a thread, or a shadow; works in which empty space emerged, i.e. the concept of non-place. Since then I’ve been interested in the subject of time and the relationship between representation and reality.
What interests me about the visual confusion in these works is the questioning of the substance of reality and time. The distance between words and things, so to speak.
Liliana Porter, 2014

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Piedras (From the Wall)

(Stones (From the Wall))

Leandro Erlich2003

Pebbles, wood, and electric motors
22 x 254 x 254 cm

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Las puertas

(The Doors)

Leandro Erlich2004

Wooden doors and fluorescent light
Overall dimensions variable, doors 208 x 105 cm each

In my work the dynamic action of the audience grants the viewer an acting role, but what is unique is that it does so without the audience giving up its role as spectator.
Leandro Erlich, 2014

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Cambiadores (Changing Rooms)

Leandro Erlich2008

Walls, golden frames, mirrors, stools, lights and curtains
24 cabins, 210 x 120 x 120 cm each
Overall dimensions 220 x 640 x 790 cm

It’s an important factor in all of my projects that the viewer can trace the process; it’s recognizable. The trick is not presented to deceive the viewer, but to be understood and resolved by him. Such an engagement with the work involves the viewer’s participation and leads to the thought that reality is as fake and constructed as the art; it’s a fiction. Although it’s the fiction that we all agree to live in. I’m a very optimistic person, and understanding that reality can be many things at the same time increases our awareness of life, politics, and our surroundings in general.
Leandro Erlich, 2008

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5 Rolling Stones

Teresa Serrano1999

Synthetic material and natural hair
ø 25-30 cm each

Much of Serrano’s oeuvre deals with issues related to gender violence, or violence against women. “5 Rolling Stones” presents five spheres or balls covered in wigs that seem to be female on account of their shape and color. The visual illusion produced by the wigs as artifacts of simulation is overcome when they appear placed on the floor like rolling heads severed from their bodies. Heads that roll and move through rivers of violence and after rolling and rolling end up becoming practically spherical, like rolling stones.
Orlando Britto Jinorio, 2014

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Blown Mold

Teresa Serrano2012

Glass
Overall dimensions 80 x 150 x 50 cm

As its title suggests, “Blown Mold” is a work made out of blown glass, a handcrafting technique as old as humankind in which the artisans “transcends” their human role to become a demiurge, a true creator whose human “breath”, an illusion of the divine breath, is able to transform a mass of matter into a beautiful, fragile object. The artist has chosen four of the hats or headdresses most heavily charged with symbolism in Catholicism, the calotte, the miter, the biretta, and the Saturn hat, to create a metaphor of the fragility of those who wear these icons representing transcendence on earth. They are not gods but human beings covered with divine symbols that offer a glimpse of the contradictions of a Church that has proven unable to create a space of equality for women, and incapable of confronting and checking violence against the innocence and integrity of minors. Teresa Serrano’s oeuvre subtly highlights the contradictions of social, political, and religious structures that generate violence against women, minors, and the underprivileged.
Orlando Britto Jinorio, 2014

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Del mismo diámetro

(Of the Same Diameter)

Teresa Serrano2012

Fabric and colored pencil on cardboard
34.5 x 77.5 x 16 cm

“Del mismo diámetro” stems from an observation the artist made of the most symbolic headdress in the religions of three of the great cultures of mankind, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, all of which have the same diameter of 17 centimeters. The religious headdresses are therefore a perfect fit for the standard diameter of a human head. As attributes related to divinity, by emphasizing their similarity the artist reminds us that those who wear them are ordinary citizens exerting leadership and power over millions of people. Hence another illusion of divinity evokes the earthly nature of these symbols of power, which are, of course, male.
Orlando Britto Jinorio, 2014

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Boca de tabla

(Mouth of Plank)

Teresa Serrano2007

Single channel video
12’52” / b/w / sound

“Boca de tabla” is about being caught in a Beckettian universe of existential tautology. Serrano’s video commences with a middle-aged woman walking in solitude through the interior of an upper-class home, interacting here and there with signifiers that point to the world outside and to the temporal. Her attempt at communication beyond the labyrinth in which she is imprisoned, however, is futile. Nevertheless, there are moments in which the woman’s interiority—which allows a degree of transcendence of her maze—is manifest. “Boca de tabla” is a philosophical and poetic work whose effect is due primarily to its cinematic aesthetics and the film-noir atmosphere established by its chiaroscuro dialectic.
Raúl Zamudio, 2008

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Untitled

Fernando Pareja & Leidy Chavez2012

Wood, cardboard, bees wax, Acrylic glass, motor, sound, and light
Overall dimensions variable, object 26 cm x ø 54 cm

Small wax figures on rotating disks, stroboscopic lighting, and a haunting soundtrack are the components of the animation machines of Fernando Pareja and Leidy Chavez, which serve to breathe life into the motionless figures, allowing them to tell their story in continuously repeating sequences.
The old women in “Untitled” (2012) hurry out of a circular arcade, hasten across a platform, only to plunge into empty space. Trapped within the system of an endless loop, this fatal drama is repeated again and again. The scene is a reaction to the thus-far hopeless situation of the civilian population in the native region of the two artists, the Columbian province of Cauca, caught in the crossfire of a never-ending armed conflict between the army, paramilitary groups, and guerillas.
The real strength of the works of Fernando Pareja and Leidy Chavez, with their interplay of illusion and reality, is that they pose at a universal level existential questions that affect all of us.
Katrin Steffen, 2014

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OPUS

José Toirac2005

Single channel video
4’49” / b/w / sound

Throughout the four minutes and forty-nine seconds of this single-channel video filmed in black and white we discover a succession of figures, shown in a loop, announced by the unmistakable voice of Commander Fidel Castro. In this work, the ceaseless rhetoric of the patronizing discourse of power that almost results in the physical and psychological exhaustion of listeners is reduced by José Toirac to a sort of minimalist sound-number illusion not devoid of a certain amount of humor, as is usual in his oeuvre. The endless political discourse is divested of all its content and, in a process of deconstruction and synthesis, is reduced by the artist to an interminable litany of figures, a lulling mantra of data impossible to corroborate that is presumably intended to produce a state of calmness in the listener, the viewer, regarding the uncertainty of his present and future. As the artist himself points out, the impossibility of verifying this information, conveyed as if it were merely political propaganda, means that basically it can only be accepted as truth starting from an act of faith. The figures and data transmitted from the echelons of power thus become a new form of religion.
Orlando Britto Jinorio, 2014

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