Alejandro Cesarco (b. 1975 in Montevideo, Uruguay) lives and works in New York. He has had recent solo exhibitions at MuMOK — Museum Moderner Kunst Stifting Ludwig, Vienna (2012), Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City (2011); Ar/ge Kunst, Bolzano (2011); Tate Modern, London (2010), and ArtPace, San Antonio (2010). He has participated in recent group exhibitions at Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2012); FRAC Lorraine, Metz, and MARCO, Vigo (2012); Sculpture Center, New York (2011); and The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010.) He was included in The Imminence of Poetics, the 30th Bienal de São Paulo (2012) and in 2011 represented Uruguay at the Venice Biennale. In addition to his practice as an artist, Cesarco edits Between Artists, a series of books published by the Art Resource Transfer Press.
When Someone Strange Is Calling You Home
ALEJANDRO CESARCO, TOSHIE TAKEUCHI, ALLISON TWEEDIE
March 16–April 20, 2013
A companion to As Far As I Can See (November 17, 2012-January 12, 2013), which looked at the metaphorical and physical space of running away, this three-person exhibition focuses on the theme of returning home. Works expressing relief, claustrophobia, absurd domesticity, and the end of a journey will be presented. Of particular interest are works that address the unknown within the familiar. Included in the exhibition are a photographic and film installation about the emotional relationship between humans and dogs by Toshie Takeuchi (Netherlands); a series of home and garden collages by Allison Tweedie (Vancouver); and an optimistic wall drawing by Alejandro Cesarco (New York).
Toshie Takeuchi investigates the naïveté and sensitivity of human relationships through surreal narratives that are based on theoretical research, her own memories and experiences, as well as those of people she interviews for her work. Tampopo Head and the Name of the Dogs (2011) is based on the lives of two reclusive men—Ed, a quiet philosophy lover, and Hilko, who lives with six female dogs named after real life women. The work is inspired by an unsettling incident in which Hilko named one of his two dogs after Takeuchi, and Ed named the other after his own daughter. The fairytale-like film explores the melancholic tendency of people to project their emotions onto dogs, investigating relationships between neighbours, daughter and father, a man and a woman, a man and his dog, and between namesakes. The narrative is guided by Japanese voiceovers by Takeuchi, which are paired with the other characters’ English monologue. This layering of languages contributes to the peculiar and poetic relationships portrayed in the film. By questioning the psychological intent behind the act of naming, the work highlights the ambiguity between identity and reality.
Referencing popular culture, art history, and literature, Alejandro Cesarco’s conceptual practice is focused on the autonomy of text and the relationships between work and spectator, the written word and the reader. His work, which takes the form of photographs, films, collages, installations, and artist books, often integrates autobiographical as well as literary references. Past work has addressed cliché in relation to strategies of seduction and romantic archetypes, looking at how the prevalence of cliché continues to influence and form our desires and our memories of them. Presented in the exhibition is Here Comes the Sun, a wall drawing from 2004 that plays with abstraction and emotional perception with a restrained economy of means. The painted strip of yellow along the bottom of the gallery wall references the end of one day and the beginning of another, inciting both relief and a feeling of loss.
Allison Tweedie’s collages often feature duplication and repetition—of identical images, formal elements and recurring methodical gestures—to collapse the meaning of the image. The source material for many of her collages is an American instructional book series on gardening and lawn maintenance from the 1960s and 1970s. Tweedie reconstructs the manicured landscapes and benign domesticity of the original images into surreal scenarios and double visions. The shifts, inclusions, and juxtapositions are slight—sufficient enough to elicit a sense of unease, but in an indeterminate manner. In several of the works, figures are depicted being overtaken by slow encroaching foliage. The banality of this gesture is disconcerting, and in their strangeness, the works convey a future created in the past.
Postscript 51: Jacqueline W. Turner on When Someone Strange Is Calling You Home (PDF)