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EXHIBITION
November
4 - 30

Vivarium

DESCRIPTION

JO-HS is pleased to present its inaugural exhibition VIVARIUM. The exhibition brings together the work of eleven Latin American artists to discourse the questions: What does art need to survive? To survive does art escape the contemporary?

The curatorial project VIVARIUM was first conceived as a collaboration between Brazilian art gardener Andre Feliciano and curator Elisabeth Johs as they pondered  the idea of a museum / gallery where art could be sustained rather than left to die and subside. The conundrum of art’s purpose in society brought forward many questions. If art is a mechanism for change through shifting our thoughts, How do we define what art needs to be in order to be alive? How can art be sustained?  What does art need to re-generate? What should we ask of art?

A vivarium is a place where one can keep something alive:  an ecosystem. VIVARIUM asks: what is art’s ecosystem? (Plato asks a thing: are you alive?, are you a manal? etc. When we see a plant growing in the sunshine, we know that the plant is alive. How can we know if art is alive and growing, or if art is dying? In other words, how can art gain and sustain life?

The exhibition takes us on a journey around the conundrum of art in relation to time.  VIVARIUM asks us to shift our thinking from ‘contemporary’ to ‘long term’ and develop a new relationship to time. Cultivating a world based on ‘non-contemporary’ ideas and ‘non-contemporary’ art. Thereby cultivating a long-term mentality to art and the world around us.

So how do we override the value of  “contemporary” in the present art? What kind of art can help soften this rigidity to nurture something focused in a long-term mentality? If you block affective understanding or learning, you create truth traps and value rigidity - this is an inability to revalue what one sees because of conditioning  to previous values.

In art you MUST rediscover what you do as you go. Rigid values make this impossible. Therefore, art regeneration is about the experience. You must experience one of its three kinds: aesthetic, conceptual and cultural.

The aesthetic experience happens when a work of art provokes a visual sensation that cannot be translated into words; the viewer keeps with them a feeling that’s difficult to explain.

The conceptual experience happens only when a work makes sense if previously translated into words, concepts and ideas; the viewer develops an intellectual interpretation of the work, which becomes art in a Duchampian sense.  A cultural experience occurs when a work of art proposes a shift in culture; the viewer can incorporate the proposal and make this shift really happen in their own lives.


The artists in JO-HS’s exhibition VIVARIUM all work primarily around the concepts of time, nature, movement and material. In this sense, each of the artists mentioned below approach these questions or concerns in a particular way. All of their artwork incites a unique reaction through different methods, mediums and proposals. They depend on the viewer's experience and welcome the process of time in reshaping their work. In VIVARIUM we can find a variety of art; ranging from installation, sculpture, textile, and painting. All of these in constant dialogue, bringing forth questions and solving them at the same time. Like a cycle, always in constant movement. Alicia Ayanegui showcases a series that explores the possibilities that lie in the shadows based on the artist's memories of spaces and objects found in the gloom. With a diffuse and synthetic line, Ayanegui reveals imprecise, illegible and vibrant beings but at the same time passive in a stillness that seems endless. Celeste, the artist duo composed by María Fernanda Camarena and Gabriel Rosas Alemán conducts a negotiation that expands concentrically in order to gradually encompass other collaborators and spectators within the workings of an intimate exchange. The collaborative nature of their artworks manifest as shapes contained in the pictorial field as the outcome of a hybrid and decentered gestuality. Artist Carla Hernandez promotes the creation of natural niches in the middle of Mexico City through the practice of questioning the relationship of nature in everyday life, focusing on the synergy that can develop between a person and plant. Carlos Garcia explores means and forms that project himself in an abstract and geometric way, which in turn is the most natural way of manifesting himself. His work has led him to investigate universal issues such as the extinction of bees, the world situation of refugees, borders, native communities, and sacred rituals where resilience and the spirit of the species is a motivation to continue living and creating. Through his studies of automobility as a psychological condition, artist and car designer Fernando Ocaña raises an anthropological view on the concept of speed and the relationships it has created amongst time, space and the human understanding of these. By blending artifacts of transport with notions of identity and habitat, his art practice analyses the subconscious rhythms involved in the act of motion and the possible meanings of humanity’s seemingly perpetual state of journeying.

Nowadays, we aim to catalogue everything. From a specific style, current, movement, or time period. But what happens if we don’t fall into categorizations and instead adapt an atemporal mentality? If we only focus on a lineal way of thinking, then we are predisposed in thinking there is a beginning and an end to everything. If this is the case, then what will come after “the contemporary”?

VIVARIUM would like to generate a new relationship with time and adapt a cyclical way of thinking. In the case of art, this means that there is no expiration date, and therefore, art never truly dies or fades away. Its essence is always there. It might physically change or be interpreted in a different manner, but that’s part of the cycle. Each person/viewer brings their own subjectivity and context, therefore each experience is completely personal. Art keeps regenerating; old discourses fall while new ones rise; nothing is permanent.

VIVARIUM is an opposition to the idea of a museum, where art in some cases comes to die. In VIVARIUM we want art to live.The Vivarium is a place where one can keep something alive, in a traditional sense an ecosystem. Acknowledging this, curator Elisabeth Johs invites the viewer to contemplate the making and context of art itself in context of the elasticity of time.  Grounded in Plato’s principles of Human Virtue, Johs hopes the viewer will slow down and approach the artwork through three fundamental experiences: aesthetic, conceptual and cultural.

Artists
Alicia Ayanegui (b. 1994)
The artist's previous work focuses on the study of light and how it affects our surroundings. This series opens a new path of exploration towards the possibilities that lie in the shadows based on the artist's memories of spaces and objects found in the gloom. Ayanegui conceives this series of dark paintings as memories of situations that now only live in his mind, which may or

may not be as he paints them, which generate a poeticization of his memory in the face of loneliness, waiting, nostalgia for the past and night terrors. . With a diffuse and synthetic line, Ayanegui reveals imprecise, illegible and vibrant beings but at the same time passive in a stillness that seems endless.
Celeste, María Fernanda & Gabriel Rosas Alemán
Celeste is an artist duo composed by María Fernanda Camarena and Gabriel Rosas Alemán. Through the integration of diverse media and disciplines in their practice, Celeste conducts a negotiation that expands concentrically in order to gradually encompass other collaborators and spectators within the workings of an intimate exchange. The exhibition space is transposed by the closeness of daily life creating transient moments of proximity and familiarity, blurring the commonplace structures that define how an artwork must be appreciated or how a museum or a gallery should be used as a space.

The collaborative nature of the artworks manifests as shapes contained in the pictorial field as the outcome of a hybrid and decentered gestuality. Each element implies the search for equilibrium between two distinct postures; this notion of balance is materialized in the mediation found in conversation and dialogue. The resulting assembly maps out a series of dispositions that fluctuate amid polarity and attraction.
Carla Hernández (b.1984, Mexico City)
Carla Hernandez promotes the creation of natural niches in the middle of Mexico City. The practice questions the relationship of nature in everyday life focusing on the relationship that can develop between a person and plant. She is interested to find out how two organisms from different species become aware of each other, how this relationship reveals or detonates behaviours. From this perspective, the artist's gaze is as valid as that of the neophyte who seeks to get closer to the vegetation, constantly asking, how do we as humans relate to plants? It advocates for a horizontal spread of knowledge.
Carlos Garcia (b. 1983, Mexico City)
Architect by RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. His training in architecture brought him closer to the world of sculpture, and it was then that his fascination for this artistic discipline plus his avid experience as an architect have made him the renowned visual artist that he is today. His foray into sculpture and the arts begins in a cathartic way, when he expresses, confronts and makes peace with the epileptic condition that he maintained from 12 to 21 years old. This phase in his life, while complex and challenging, has led him to explore means and forms that project himself in an abstract and geometric way, which, in turn, is the most natural way of manifesting himself. Taking this introspective perspective as a starting point, Carlos also lives as part of a community and has a genuine attraction to events that affect socially, politically and environmentally. His work has led him to investigate universal issues such as the extinction of bees, the world situation of refugees, borders, native communities, and sacred rituals where resilience and the spirit of the species is a motivation to continue living and creating. . Thus, through his pieces, he seeks to generate this same introspection within the viewer and channel their attention towards an opportunity to generate awareness and reflection.
Fernando Ocaña (b. Mexico City)
Fernando Ocaña is an artist and car designer. Through his studies of automobility as a psychological condition, he raises an anthropological view on the concept of speed and the relationships it has created amongst time, space and the human understanding of these. By blending artifacts of transport with notions of identity and habitat, his art practice analyses the subconscious rhythms involved in the act of motion and the possible meanings of humanity’s seemingly perpetual state of journeying. Ultimately, his work aims to spark debate on how speed might be rewiring the human brain. Described as “radical” (Der Spiegel, 2012), “unique, philosophical, even poetic” (Creative Review, 2014) and as “crazy talk that could turn our cities into symphony” (Jarvis Cocker, BBC Radio, 2013), Fernando’s work has been exhibited at the Transport Museum (London, UK, 2011), Frankfurt Motorshow (2013), Museum Villa Stuck (Munich, Germany, 2017), Government on the development of an ultra- lightweight electric taxi, to be launched in 2021. He holds an MA in Vehicle Design from the Royal College of Art.
Miguel Pedroza (b. 1986, Mexico City)
Miguel Ángel Pedroza’s formation as a writer precedes that of a sculptor, but his preoccupation in both formations has not stopped him from pursuing something unrepresentable. He studied visual arts at UNAM, and ended up specializing in sculpture. When he approached the sculptural path, he sensed something that has nothing to do with pure masterful procedure and that rather subjugates the hegemony of the visual. Miguel found the relevance of the sculptural in their ways of feeling the contingent construction in the doubt that the making of the world implies, intense doubt coming out of the hands, attached to a discursive prejudice. The symbolic character is wrapped in matter and affects: the Mystery has forms and transmits in silence.
Perla Krauze (born 1953, Mexico City)
Perla Krauze is a Mexican sculptor, painter and visual artist. She has a Masters in Visual Art from Chelsea College of Art , in London. Her work is important public collections such as the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City, the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo / Museum of Contemporary Art in Oaxaca City , Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil / Carrillo Gil Art Museum, Museo de la Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Public and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona.
Tania Ximena (b. 1985, Sahagún, Hidalgo)
In her practice, Tania Ximena attends to approach the landscape genre from different flanks and disciplines: mountain climbing, volcanology, scientific and historical research, and personal and spiritual introspection, so as to replace a notion of landscape as something that is merely observed with the notion of territory as a changing mesh of social and natural factors. This doubtlessly implies taking on the difficulties of any translation and asking the question: How does one move from experience to image?
Alonso Leon-Velarde (b. 1993, Peru)
Born 1993 in Lima, Peru. Alonso Leon-Velarde is an artist whose primary focus is Painting and Drawing. His work combines elements of personal history, science fiction, and contemporary subjects, invoking the idea of a pictorial symbol as an after-image or residue. His paintings and drawings merge themes of loss and defeat with expressions of celebration and resilience; functioning as metaphors for inherited modalities of
confrontation, and syncretism. His works pictorial resolution is filtered and framed by sifting a mix of referential, eclectic, and geolocated material, using an adaptive semiotic logic that is associative rather than descriptive. Made with sharp, organic and voluptuous movements a painterly recollection of these stimuli emerges. The action happens at the periphery of the form, sometimes erecting itself against theedges of the picture, and others being contained by the rectangle. LV proposes an imaginative and futuristic alternative to understanding the intricacies of life in a Latin context, posing a dynamic where an impression or preconceived notion of what something is changes. Leon-Velarde received a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and Goldsmiths University (2016). He has been included in exhibitions at El Instante Fundación, Madrid; Whitechapel gallery, London and Ginsberg Galería, Lima.
Emilio Chapela (b. 1978, Mexico City)
His work explores connections between science, technology and sustainability through the art practice by examining notions of time and space as manifested in ecologies such as rivers, astronomical phenomena, light, gravity, rocks, plants and volcanoes. He has had various museum and gallery exhibitions in Mexico, USA and Europe. The most recent being at Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico City in 2019, where he collaborated with architects, astronomers and scientists. He is curator and artist at entre-rios.net and PhD candidate at the University of Plymouth.
Andre Feliciano (Brazil, 1984) lives and works in São Paulo and NYC with a passionate interest in cultivating art, nature, and togetherness. Feliciano has two Master's Degrees — in Arts Education, from Fundaçāo Armando Álvares Penteado — FAAP, and in Visual Poetics, from São Paulo University — USP. He has exhibited his work internationally, including a presentation at the Annemberg Space for Photography in LA, and has published several books. Since 2017 he has worked in partnership with Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun Foundation developing educational projects for kids. Feliciano has coined the term "Floraissance" in which he interrogates the future of Contemporary Art.
© JO-HS