Dark Matter, 2010
Installation, Photography, Sculpture & Video, Dimensions Variable, Duration Variable
curated by Manuel Acevedo
Dark Matter focuses on the social umbrella inherent to ritual, structural and artistic evolution as a keystone to the significant influences by people of color in contemporary visual culture. NASA defines dark matter as an undetectable structure that emits electromagnetic radiation, or light. This structure never emits sufficient light for direct detection, yet the traces of its presence can be indirectly detected in peculiar ways, such as in the marked gravitational pull on visible light sources.
As a subject, Dark Matter is shadowy, grotesque, peripheral, and extends itself through the human body into a space of abjection. This exhibition explores the photographic and time-based works of seven contemporary artists: Irvin Morazan, Germen Pitre, Terry Bobbie, Elia Alba, Heidi Kumao, Rajhamal Kahlon and Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz. Symbolically, the works and artistic processes underscore these concerns through performative art practices, re-constructive notions of identity, encryptions, and re-framed histories of indigenous peoples and their post-colonial past.
Rajhamal Kahlon’s project, Aktion with a Male Body: Notes from Schwarzkogler to Shahzada was performed at Artist Space in 2008. It explores the transformed and grotesque body within historical moments of crisis. She deals with events addressing the post-colonial conditions of her subject matter, transforming the body into a vehicle of physical experimentation and brutalization.
Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz’s performances examine gender identity through parody and subversion of feminine identity in speech, gestures, and dress. Si Te Dejara, is a self-portrait exploring the Madonna as a feminine icon. She subverts the icon’s stereotypical “passive” nature, while at the simultaneously being forced fed by handfuls of rice.
Heidi Kumao engages viewers with “low tech” cinematic machines composed of rhythm, light and shadows. Each device tells a silent story, as it opens into a projection of a childhood scene or dream.
Terry Boddie’s locks of hair poetically connect to a myriad of cultures consider hair an important part of human existence, possessing spiritual and religious properties. He applies a cipher-like scheme to create an alphanumeric message in his large-scale digital images.
Elia Alba reconstructs the human form from living models. The “soft sculpture” made from actual body measurements and photographic texture maps that are transferred onto muslin finely stitched together. The hollowed three-dimensional busts of her subjects have an allusive demeanor.
Irvin Morazan’s public performances mix pre-Columbian mythologies and Latin American hip-hop sounds with costumes and headdresses that embody the resurrection of ancient deities; reminiscent of characters from Alejandro Jodorowsky’s film Santa Sangre.
German Pitre uses textured materials, removing the inner stuffing of toy animals and creatures to present them as large-scale photographs. He works mostly with large, black painted surfaces, building up his narratives on canvas and cloth. The faces and bodies of the dismembered toys appear as alien at first then seem orbit a larger, dark space.