Allora & Calzadilla at Chantal Crousel

Allora y Calzadilla Petrol Pump detail Allora & Calzadilla at Chantal Crousel

Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Petrified Petrol Pump, 2010. Fossil-filled limestone. Photo credit: Florian Kleinefenn

The recent announcement of the selection of the American-Cuban duo Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla to represent the United States at the 2011 Venice Biennale has generated quite an international buzz. They are young and relatively unknown with very conceptual and at times controversial proposals that bring attention to political and social unrest. Art with a conscious, so to speak.

Some of their previous work, such as Under Discussion, focuses on US military exploits in Vieques, a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico. So it is to the surprise of many that they are representing said country in such an important artistic international event; the forces at work of the contemporary art world.

Allora y Calzadilla Forecast1 Allora & Calzadilla at Chantal Crousel

Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Forecast, 2010. C-print mounted on aluminum. Photo credit: Florian Kleinefenn

But apart from contentious issues regarding their work and rise to the top, the pair just opened their most recent solo show at Chantal Crousel in Paris, and it seems like quite a show. In it, the artists continue their multidisciplinary approach to art making presenting new and recent works that range from photography, installation, sculpture and video. Likewise, they continue to tackle subjects related to current events such as oil spills and environmental disasters.

Through the use of metaphors based on seemingly contradictory elements, the artists attempt to establish visual and ideological relationships that challenge the traditional construction of meaning. Like it or not, the duo is known for pairing together the most disparate of objects, such as a trumpet and an exhaust, or in this case, a camel’s hump and an ironing board. Some are hits and some are definite misses, but in any case, it’s clearly undeniable that this couple is on the rise.

-Carla Acevedo

Jennifer Allora (born 1974, USA) and Guillermo Calzadilla (born 1971, Cuba) have been collaborating since 1995. They have been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions worldwide, including presentations at Haus der Kunst and Kunstverein Munich; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; San Francisco Art Institute; Serpentine Gallery, London; Kunsthalle Zurich; and The Renaissance Society, Chicago. They have also been included in group exhibitions such as “Prospect 1 New Orleans”; the 8th & 9th Lyon Biennales; Whitney Biennial 2006: Day for Night; 51st Venice Biennale; “Ailleurs/Ici,” Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris/ARC Paris, “How Latitudes Become Form,” Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, and “Common Wealth,” Tate Modern. Allora & Calzadilla are based in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Allora y Calzadilla The Camels Hump Allora & Calzadilla at Chantal Crousel

Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, The Camel’s Humps and the Ironing Board, 2010. Stuffed camel humps, ironing board, Photo credit: Florian Kleinefen

Allora y Calzadilla Scale of Justice Carried by Shore Foam Allora & Calzadilla at Chantal Crousel

Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Scale of Justice Carried by Shore Foam, 2010. Polystyrene, synthetic polymer foam. Photo credit: Florian Kleinefenn

Allora y Calzadilla Petrol Pump Allora & Calzadilla at Chantal Crousel

Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Petrified Petrol Pump, 2010. Fossil-filled limestone. Photo credit: Florian Kleinefenn
Images and artist bio courtesy of Chantal Crousel

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