Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Expanded Window2 Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Expanded Window, 2011. Site-specific installation. Acrylic, cable, aluminum.

Rectangular amber filters catch spectators unaware, forming an untouchable structure of lights and shadows over a ramp at the entrance of this exhibit curated by Itala Schmelz. Reflective plexiglas panels form geometric relations, the beam of yellow light fills the room with sparkling reflections, and the color of the sky changes when watching towards the zenith through the filters.

Expanded Window Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Expanded Window, 2011. Site-specific installation. Acrylic, cable, aluminum.

This piece supports the contemplation of a moment that splits and occupies three spaces. Expanded window, 2011, is a piece that forces the spectator to perceive in different ways the matter in its formal multiplicity. The sun, granter of life, is the catalytic element of the aesthetic experience in this exhibition that works as a labyrinth of alive and inert forms, of surfaces and perimeters, and underlying geometries: cubes, rectangles and rhomboids.

Installation Shot Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Installation View

The last floor of the Museum of Art Carrillo Gil (MACG) has been completely taken over with structures and sculptural surfaces, photographs, watercolors and video, using in minimal and repetitive form the combination of diverse matters that comprise imaginary of Sofía Táboas. Eclectic walls, pieces of constructions, gravel, lively threads of sugar cotton, Chinese colored papers, carpet sample books, extensive surfaces, water from the Xochimilco lake and pieces of a swimming pool compose the exhibition. The works are symbols of water and fire, the alive and the inert, the underground world and deep space. They express the reinterpretation of the natural and artificial limits of our knowledge of space. It allows thinking on the fragility of hard materials and on the change in perception when an element is repeated successively like a heartbeat.

Installation View Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Installation View

Boundary Surfaces is conceptually based on a photograph of the sides of a building that goes from the subsoil to the sky ,and creates a gray monochrome surface that hides the habitat of the urban dweller. During the 20th Century, the creators of buildings in Mexico City expected that entire city blocks would be full of buildings of the same size. Since there was no regulation about the urban landscape, many tall buildings were located next to constructions of only a few floors, resulting in gray surfaces within the lateral façades of many buildings. These extensive surfaces are very common and indicate the boundary of a property that implies a dividing line that extends to the sky. How do we perceive the changes from one type of surface to another, from smoothness to roughness, from hardness to softness, from shade to light, from water to fire? Sofía Táboas allows us to reflect on the space between different surfaces, on the surfaces that in turn form limits, on the sensorial experimentation that the crossing from one surface to another entails, on the limits that matter imposes, the possibility of its rupture and, on the possibility of a life without limits.

Wall Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Construction Wall, 2011. Site-specific installation.

Wall detail Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Construction Wall, 2011. Site-specific installation (detail).

A dysfunctional wall comprised of cubes of different materials (like aluminum, glass, steel, wood, plaster, brick and cement), Construction Wall, 2011, delimits the first room diagonally. In its construction, it uses elements that normally create enclosed spaces, protected and artificial ones where humans take refuge. Unlike its reason of being, they are accumulated in vertical piles and produce a sensation of fragility and vulnerability. Time indicates the wall’s inevitable decay since the cubes have not been placed scientifically, taking into account its physical qualities. Instead, they have been placed arbitrarily by chance according to their formal qualities. The wall reminds us of the boundary of private property, the protection it provides, the confidence in its solidity, but this wall, instead, does not protect anything, nor is reliable. Its elements could be solid if they were not fragmented, creating forces of tension that compete with each other. This piece gradually self destroys with time. There are no guarantees that a material of strong constitution is an infallible limit. It is also necessary to consider its positioning according to its nature. The contemplation of this work recalls a phrase of an interview to Joseph Beuys: “Art is not there for providing knowledge with direct form. It produces deep perceptions of experience.” An experience full of ambiguities, indiscernible sensations that entail the silence of contemplation.

Fragments Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Swimming Pool Fragments, 2011. Site-specific installation.

Three pieces make up the installation Swimming Pool Fragments, 2011. Each one of the fragments is an irregular useless form: An amorphous and isolated piece of a swimming pool. It is possible to see all the layers of its wall: the ground, the cement, the gravel and the Venetian mosaic; they seem dissections of what one functioned as a water container for entertainment and sports. In a fragment only a drain appears, in another one, the stairs, and in a third one, a lit underwater light bulb. Surfaces of transit where energy escapes, spaces where a means of exchange is made in ruins: the swimming pool is incomplete, broken; the fragments can no longer be joined, it is entropic. The swimming pool no longer contains water, it is no longer a means of exchange, it is only a sign. The fragments no longer delimit the space, there are only memories.

filtro lama gen Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

In the same room, a fish tank contains a subaqueous world imported from the Xochimilco lake in the south of the city. A world has been created by tiny beings that through time and light have been populating the volume of the water with green seaweed. Filter slime, 2011, is a locked up live micro ecosystem separated from the dry outer world by glass walls. It is a space that is located in between, whose ecology is a pleasure to observe at great lengths. This micro society of animals in a confined space makes a work of art with living creatures, which makes me think about its destiny. Will this world be rejected after the exhibition? Is life only useful when it has a purpose? And then…

Degenerated Cotton Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Degenerated Cotton, 2003-2011. Site-specific installation. Nylon thread and cotton candy.

Cotton Stages Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Degenerated Cotton, 2003-2011, stage 1 and stage 2. Site-specific installation. Nylon thread and cotton candy.

Degenerated cotton, 2011, an installation of cotton candy covering a wall, allows us to feel a sensation of warmth and causes an uncontrollable desire to touch. It is a work that self generates its transformation. The surface undoes with time, its nature forces its decay. A decay of sweetness that becomes a sterile branching. The cotton clouds turn into compressed sugar threads that resemble spiderwebs which are not desirable anymore. The seductive surface ceases to be with the passing of time. The accomplishment of an action in splendor at the opening, ages in solitude.

Fuego Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Extraterrestrial plan, 2001-2011. Site-specific installation. Cans of solid alcohol. Video documentation of action performed at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil.

Fuego2 Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Extraterrestrial plan, 2001-2011. Site-specific installation. Cans of solid alcohol. Video documentation of action performed at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil.

Another installation, a fire symbol without anthropological references, Extraterrestrial plan, 2001-2011, was ignited on the ceiling of the museum and transmitted by video through a closed circuit. Humanity has been witness to the appearance of geometric figures on agricultural fields that do not have any reference to our civilization. Incandescent, the symbol does not represent anything, perhaps another civilization; it conforms a limit between the well-known and what is about to be known. It is an allegory of an inexplicable phenomenon. The fire allows life but it also destroys it. The tins of solid alcohol are filmed and shown like witnesses of an enigma that science has not been able to solve. The fire tries to burn the located landscapes of Chinese colored papers and abstract forms placed in front of the video screen. Five polyptychs of nine elements, Landscapes, 2010-2011, could make reference to the nine natural numbers from which our science is based, creating an opposition of elements that show the fragility of the well-known horizon.

Landscapes Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Landscapes, 2010-2011.

Carpet Chromatic Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Carpet-Chromatic, 1993-2011. Site-specific installation. Carpet, vinyl, wood.

Carpet Chromatic Detail Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Carpet-Chromatic, 1993-2011, detail. Site-specific installation. Carpet, vinyl, wood.

A series of color from framed carpet samples, Carpet-Chromatic, 1993-2011, covers another surface of the room. The conformation of three concentric rectangles causes the sensation of intermittent pulse, and the eye cannot cease to watch an ordering that does not have anything to do with the theory of color. The names of the samples evoke exotic places, fruits, animals and painters: Synthetic elements that refer to nature. The spectator can be lost between so many textures and combinations of color. Here the perceptive limit is indiscernible, the sensation is moving. The frames seem to move in a nonsensical rate. A world caused by an infinite, enigmatic and unspeakable set of images. An extensive surface of diamond dust, Wall that is given off, 2002-2011, causes a magnificent affection in the body of the spectator. Its patient contemplation carries the spectator to a state of ecstasy; to a commotion of fantasies and psychic representations that transport the viewer to an untruly world, all without leaving reality. By the perceived thing, the spectator ceases to be to become imperceptible. An entropic false movement that transfigures the glance, constantly variable, it changes depending on the point of view. A sparkling universe, an exaltation of the vibration embraces the spectator.

Untitled Sofía Táboas: Boundary Surfaces at Museum of Art Carrillo Gil

Wall that is given off, 2002-2011. Site-specific installation. Aluminum emulsion.

When walking along the most extensive surface, a flat monochrome silver-plated boundary surface, the spectator looks to find something special, some sign of coherence, to finally encounter himself/herself in its reflected silhouette: A shadow indicating the transformation of one’s perception. The limit of the being is the reflection of its shadow. The spectator realizes that it is he/she who observes and feels the experience in the event. Sofía Táboas proposes an expansion of visible horizons and at the same time invites the spectator to live a block of ambiguous sensations in relation to matter; it aspires to maximum formal clarity, and looks for the structural integrity of the space.

-Alejandro Sordo-Guzmán

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