Friday, January 22, 2010

Pierrot le fou is (not) Dead: Bernardí Roig

[“Pierrot le fou,” mixed media installation. “Pierrot le fou is (not) Dead,” mixed media installation, aluminum, electricity. “Despondency Exercises (IV Movement),” mixed media sculpture. “Not Twin Heads,” mixed media sculpture, polyester resin.]

Classical myths and post-Modern philosophy culminate with the current body of works by Bernardí Roig at Claire Oliver Gallery. Showing through January 23, 2010, “Pierrot le fou is (not) Dead”—a powerful mélange of sculpture and installation by one of Spain’s most prominent contemporary artists—is Roig’s third solo exhibition with Claire Oliver Gallery. Media such as drawing, sculpture, and video come alive in Roig’s dynamic works in which the human figure is the conceptual center.

While flirting with traditional sculpture, these Minimalist and Conceptual works speak of society in which envelopes have been pushed to the bursting point. As cast in every tiny detail of “Pierrot le fou is (not) Dead,” the viewer can discern inherent chaos in our collective societies so pervaded by loss of historical memory and identity. In our respective societies—so saturated with the mass media—it has become a challenge to discern fact from fiction or important issues from those trivial. The figures in “Pierrot le fou is (not) Dead” Roig aptly capture this distance and lack of sensation.

Furthermore, Roig’s illuminative and metaphorical use of light is a vital element in conveying perspectives of time, space, wholeness, and schism. Sheathed by fluorescent tubes, Roig’s subjects are blinded in a cacophony of imagery and voyeurism. Simultaneously confined and sightless, Roig’s white sculptures (which are casts of real people) are an embarkation point in analyzing imprisoned memory and identity.

Inspired by classical myths and postmodern philosophy, the prose of Thomas Bernhard (1931– 1989) and art of Pierre Klossowski (1905—2001) also find their way into Roig’s work. One of the German language’s most important post-war authors, Bernhard’s existential works explored abandonment and death. Klossowski—who translated important works by Virgil, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger, Friedrich Holderlin, Franz Kafka, Nietzche, and Walter Benjamin into French—greatly influenced such seminal philosophers as Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Jean-Francois Lyotard. Indeed, Roig’s compelling work explores boundaries separating and connecting two essential paradigms: the pre-Modern (founded on the integrity of the spirit) and the post-Modern (which alters interpretation and presentation of images).

Communicating with the viewer through his solitary sculptures, Roig’s presentation of the human body and its symbols manage to balance a number of variables. These include death, immortality, desire, eroticism, intimacy, isolation, and fulfillment. This interior dialogue is accomplished in the separate narratives of his various works or by their absorption as an ensemble. The artist’s fluency in art history and philosophical discourse greatly empower his works.

The artist’s work has been viewed in a number of venues, including Atlantic Center of Modern Art (Spain), Foundation La Caixa (Barcelona), Foundation Ludwig (Havana), Museé d’Art Moderne (Oostende), the Kampa Museum (Prague), the Kunstmuseum (Bonn), the Domus Artium (Salamanca), and the Museo Carlo Bilotti of Villaborghese (Rome).

Pierrot le fou is (not) Dead: Bernardí Roig
Through January 23, 2010
@ Claire Oliver Gallery
513 West 26th Street, NYC 10001

Bernardí Roig Video

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