Jason Mena, untitled (destruction is no longer an uncalculated event), digital print on tempered glass, used tires and paper, 2010
For his first major solo show at Luis Adelantado Gallery in Valencia, Spain, Jason Mena constructs a visually engaging landscape that ranges from discarded tires to sublime skyscapes. The exhibition, titled We all shall play in the ruins, displays a sense of faux urgency arising from current events, reflecting on subjects such as destruction, waste, pollution and its paradoxically sublime effects. Transforming a seemingly ugly and distasteful object or image into a thing of beauty seems to be Mena’s predominant predilection.
On the first floor of the gallery, an installation of found tires accompanies one of the stronghold pieces of the show, the work Destruction is no longer an uncalculated event. Propped up on 4 tires, a piece of tempered glass printed with an appropriated image of a nuclear bomb going off seems to set the tone for the entire show. Small pieces of green print paper scattered around the gallery suggest patches of grass, adding one of the few colors in an exhibition that relies mostly on muted colors and a somber palette. The exhibition’s title suggests play, movement, disintegration. In fact, movement in a tangible but also metaphorical way is present throughout the show; from the inanimate tires that comprise the installation, to object transmutations, to images of pulsating buildings.
Jason Mena, untitled, crushed medalla, graphite, gesso on found paper, 2010
On the second floor of the gallery, graphite drawings on found paper of crushed beer cans, match boxes and cigarette packs from different brands provide an almost archaeological dimension to the exhibition, portraying objects that used by consumers are quickly discarded to then become a part of urban city streets. Transformed from a three dimensional object to a two dimensional one, these drawings elegantly portray their flattened and discarded functionality. On another floor, the series of photographs Points of View displays multiple superimposed images of buildings, some of which seem either under construction or under demolition. Either one seems plausible. Their gestural vibrations provide the exhibition with a concrete visual representation of movement that culminates with the series Letting go of conceptual approaches, images that turn polluted skies into poetic and contemplative gradients of subdued colors.
As in previous works, Mena continues his exploration of the city and its urban archeology, including its architecture and its social as well as political climate. In this exhibition, we witness a more interdisciplinary approach to his practice, where art historical references to minimalism and conceptualism avails Mena in achieving an engaging and relevant exhibition.
Jason Mena, installation view
Jason Mena, installation view. Series, Points of view 2008-2010.
Jason Mena (1974, New York) lives and works in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He earned his B.A. at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He has shown his work in numerous international venues such as the Poly/Graphic Triennial: Latin America and the Caribbean and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Puerto Rico, the Museum of Modern Art, Dominican Republic, the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco, VoxPopuli Gallery, Philadelphia and the Painters & Sculptors Association Gallery, Israel. He was nominated for the Emerging Artist’s Brugal ARCO Madrid 09 Acquisition Award, received the 2008 Lexus Grant for the Arts and the 2006 AICA Award, International Association of Art Critics.
Jason Mena, installation view.
Jason Mena, installation view. Series, Letting go of conceptual approaches 2010.
- Oscar Carrasco at Luis Adelantado Valencia
- Jason Mena: Blind Fields
- Aggtelek at Luis Adelantado Valencia