The exhibition Passages Convergents offers a personification of left brain/right brain. Through the alchemy of creativity, the show explores the links among the human body, digital art, and technology.

Promoted by Fundacion Latinarte, it is curated by Mariza Rosales Argonza and presents three Latin American artists whose approach sets up a dialogue via multi-spatial realities that stimulate the imagination. These highly avant-garde and original multidisciplinary creators conceive of art as a place of transition and exchange, where real and virtual worlds converge and intertwine. The innovative works were conceived to interact with both the space and the viewer. Although hard-wired, their intricacy evokes pleasure and reflection. Their different kind of beauty has a free-spirited playfulness; their remastering of industrial materials offers a new narrative. Entering the exhibition, one is immediately immersed in a clever conversation in a cerebral language of boundary-pushing art.

Beatriz Herrera’s installation jump-starts the show. El autre double (2018) is massive. Using the traditional media of paper and paint, Herrera created a two-dimensional mural. Due to lack of space, she then folded the wall hanging into a sculpture. It is held with heavy, muscular industrial bolts—a contrast with its elusive painted markings. Are those the spots of a South American jaguar’s fur? Do those subtle brushstrokes seem like feathers? Is there a story secreted within the cut-outs? This mysterious piece eludes adjectives. Hand-fashioned, its very craftiness—in all senses of the word—has a powerful presence far removed from the exactitude of an electronic world. Erizo de la ausencia (2018) is an alluring shape-shifting work, an organic slithering “robot” that triggers memories of the movie Alien. Interactive, it invites involvement, moving subtly with synchronized sounds as the viewer approaches. Gleaming rotating metallic “arms” made of nuts and bolts reach sinuously into space. Le bag boy (2018) has a surprise. The reverberating electronic elements of this steel creature invite inspection: tiny white egg sacs are nurtured within. Herrera’s kinetic sculptures are full of riveting nuances. According to her website, she uses “awkwardness and absurdity as a counter strategy to the mythologizing of efficiency in our culture.”

Beatriz Herrera, Erizo de la ausencia (2018)
From the series Ingrédients pour un univers fait maison
Motorized electronic sculpture with motion sensors, 152,4 x 76,2 cm

Federico Carbajal’s training as an architect is reflected in his work. His minimalist sculpture Neuronal Landscape 1-4 (2018) is refined and elegant. He has laboriously twisted and tied galvanized-steel wires by hand, the fine finishing perhaps recalling the work of other artistic hands: les petites mains of couture houses. But at the same time, the viewer’s imagination can shift and soar, calling to mind the colossal metal power lines that march throughout the countryside. Carbajal has transformed common materials, altering our basic understanding and visual perception of them. Based on brain neurons and nerve synapses, his esoteric work is inspired by the neural drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine in 1906. Hanging in Donald Judd-like boxes, Carbajal’s sculptures create the illusion of infinity. The shiny neural forest is re-reflected in an aquarium of framing mirrors that mimic the brain’s impulses: an architectural anatomy. Lit with fluorescent tubes, the bent steel forms have a striking dynamism in their repetition. Strands of metal, a banal substance, have undergone a sea change. Apart from the work’s intrinsic beauty, it offers a subtle dialogue: a point-counterpoint with the brain of the viewer.

Entering the exhibition,
one is immediately immersed in a clever conversation
in a cerebral language of boundary-pushing art.

Topological Reverberations (2018), by transdisciplinary artist Santiago Tavera, is appropriately approached via a yellow entrance. One pushes aside a translucent vinyl curtain whose glow expands to fill the space of a room in which an interactive video presents Tavera’s floating digital architecture as an invitation to a virtual world. Creating their own stories, visitors use a trackpad to move floating 3D houses. The iconic nonlinear symbols suggest an alternative space. The narrative becomes that of the viewers, whose constructs via the trackpad make them part of the work. As they navigate the space, they hear stories in French, English, and Spanish. Like other pieces in the exhibition, this one is created with industrial materials. The divide between ordinary construction materials and the ephemeral world of technology has been not only linked but transformed, remastered through creativity; the intrinsic feel of banal bits and pieces offers a paradigm shift.

Throughout the exhibition, the commonplace is metamorphosed via technological expertise. The transformations have an ineffable appeal.

Passages Convergents
Maison de la culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Montreal
Curator : Mariza Rosales Argonza
January 24—September 6, 2020