Adrián Villar Rojas

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Considerations of loss and sensation of transience

Adrián Villar Rojas, My dead family, 2009 -Installation view - photo Carla Barbero - courtesy of the artist & Ruth Benzacar
Considerations of loss and sensation of transience

Adrián Villar Rojas (Argentina, 1980) transcends conventional ideas of scale raising issues concerning ecology and the prehistoric through colossal concrete sculptures and huge site specific works. In 2009 he participated in the Biennial of the End of the World, in Ushuaia (Argentina), where he presented his transient sculpture My Dead Family. Enormous bones lay in a park in Kassel for dOCUMENTA (13). Whilst individual prehistoric animals, covered with seaweed and mussels, stood in the waters of the Sea of Marmara at the 14th Istanbul Biennial in 2015.

Adrián Villar Rojas is presenting The Theatre of Disappearance at KUB, one of the most impressive and elaborate exhibitions in the history of the institution, on the occasion of its 20th anniversary. Teams, on three different continents, have been working on this project specially conceived for Kunsthaus Bregenz.

Adrián Villar Rojas, The Theater of Disappearance, 2017 - Exhibition view - photo Jörg Baumann - Courtesy of the artist, Marian Goodman & kurimanzutto - ©Adrián Villar Rojas, Kunsthaus Bregenz

A suspended cage and burning imagery create a gloomy atmosphere. A narrative ranging from the birth of mankind to its apotheosis is represented in a sacred white shrine. Picasso, Piero, Michelangelo, Lascaux ­– the entire art history is present as a dark apocalyptic dream. The Kunsthaus becomes hardly recognizable. A gigantic cave, a dungeon, a symbol of mental aberration.

Villar Rojas has conceived a passage through human culture, from its origins to its apotheosis, transforming Kunsthaus Bregenz into a concrete bunker in which ultimately the art objects are rescued.

Adrián Villar Rojas, The Theater of Disappearance, 2017 - Exhibition view - photo Jörg Baumann - Courtesy of the artist, Marian Goodman & kurimanzutto ©Adrián Villar Rojas, Kunsthaus Bregenz

In the words of KUB Director, Thomas D. Trummer, “The ground floor provides Villar Rojas’ exhibition with a completely empty stage. Even the ticket counter has been removed. Coloured light streams through the windows. A reproduction of the painting Madonna del Parto (1450— 1475) by Piero della Francesca extends across the floor, depicting a pregnant Madonna.

The first floor is darkened, flora hanging from its ceiling, the floor space paved in brown marble, the fossils within it meticulously exposed. Is this an ancient place of worship, at the origins of man, or the vaults of his tragic existence? The second floor is likewise darkened, a copy of Picasso’s Guernica (1937) located in the middle. Villar Rojas adds a bar of fire, flickering along its lower edge. An image of a bearded hunter is displayed adjacent to one of two dinosaurs. An iron basket hangs from the ceiling. Humans exist in the world and, with them, carnage and violence.

Adrián Villar Rojas, The Theater of Disappearance, 2017 - Exhibition view - photo Jörg Baumann - Courtesy of the artist, Marian Goodman & kurimanzutto ©Adrián Villar Rojas, Kunsthaus Bregenz

The atmosphere changes on the predominantly white upper floor. The legs of Michelangelo’s David (1501—1504) are enthroned on a ramp. Humanity has arrived in Olympus, abandoning Earth. A cyber spider is the last remaining witness to humanity’s disappearance, a post-apocalyptic scenario.”

Adrián Villar Rojas
The Theater of Disappearance
Until 27.08.2017

KUB -
Kunsthaus Bregenz
Bregenz, Austria

www.kunsthaus-bregenz.at

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