Entelechy / Allora & Calzadilla
Entelechy / Allora & Calzadilla
May 12 – Oct 29, 2023
Serralves
Porto, Portugal

Jennifer Allora (1974, USA) and Guillermo Calzadilla (1971, Cuba) are a collaborative duo of visual artists who live and work in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Through a research-based approach, their works trace intersections of history, material culture, ecology, and politics, using a multiplicity of artistic media that include performance, sculpture, sound, video, and photography.

Titled Entelechy, the present exhibition is the first mid-career survey of the artistic duo and a unique opportunity to experience some of their most celebrated works. Revealing new connections in an open-ended chronology, this ambitious presentation occupies the entire left wing and the Serralves Museum Hall. The concept of “entelechy “, dating back to Aristotle, entails a sense of self-realized potential and vital force driving the development of every being; but it can also refer, in common language, to the unattainable perfection of an idea. This notion reflects the poetic and philosophical complexity of Allora & Calzadilla ongoing practice while it directly points at one of their most ambitious productions to date: a monumental coal sculpture cast from a tree struck by lightning (Entelechy, 2020). The artists sourced a scots pine tree found in the forest of Montignac, France, where a group of teenagers discovered the now-famous Lascaux Cave in 1940 from the path famously indicated by a similar tree’s upturned roots. Thus, an underground cavern containing hundreds of prehistoric wall drawings emerged in the middle of the geopolitical upheaval of World War II. The only image of a human figure ever found in the cave – representing a hybrid of human and bird – becomes, in the meantime, the basis for the score that the composer David Lang developed together with Allora & Calzadilla as a performative dimension of this work.

Covering more than two decades of practice, the Entelechy exhibition at Serralves brings together some of the duo’s most iconic pieces, including early installations such as Chalk (1998), a set of twelve human-size chalks installed at the north entrance of Parque da Cidade, inviting passers-by to engage with these unique mark-making instruments. Also featured in the show will be the body of work exploring the complex history of Vieques, an island off Puerto Rico that the United States Navy used as a bomb-testing site from 1941 until 2003. The project itself played a key role in the island’s social movements and contributing decisively towards the debate on the relationships between the great world powers and the history of the Caribbean. Iconic films by the artists, such as Returning a Sound (2004), Under Discussion (2005) and Half Mast/Full Mast (2011), originated in the Vieques series as it thus came to embody more than a decade of Allora & Calzadilla’s research.

The works in this exhibition highlight the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the artists’ practice, as well as themes that run throughout their entire oeuvre, from the postcolonial condition to environmental justice and climate debt; geological time and the evolutionary history of life on Earth; geopolitics and energy resources. In this regard, this exhibition highlights a series of sculpture-performance based works that are central to Allora & Calzadilla’s trajectory, such as Hope Hippo (2005), Stop, Repair, prepare: Variations on ‘Ode to Joy’ for a Prepared Piano (2008), Lifespan (2014) and Entelechy (2020), which will be regularly staged throughout the course of the exhibition in collaboration with local musicians and performers.

Since the beginning of their collaborative practice in 1995, Allora & Calzadilla have presented solo exhibitions at some of the world’s most important museums – including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; The Menil Collection, Houston; Serpentine Gallery, London; the Castello de Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MAXXI, Rome; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, among others. In 2011 they represented the United States of America at the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale with an ambitious project, Glória – a performative critique of the narratives and symbols that overlap in America’s political, cultural, and economic nationalism. In 2015, they made the site-specific installation “Puerto Rican Light (Cueva Vientos)”, a Dia Art Foundation commission on the southern coast of Puerto Rico.

The exhibition is curated by Philippe Vergne and Inês Grosso and coordinated by Paula Fernandes.

  • 1 a 1 Affinità
    Nov 22, 2023 – Feb 29, 2024
    ON House Milano
    Milan, Italy

    1 a 1 Affinità is a group show celebrating the relationship between different artistic expressions and their surrounding context. The exhibition takes place at ON House Milano: a charming location in the heart of Milano, which used to be the Azucena workshop of Architect Caccia Dominioni.

    The combination of space, artwork, and the artworks between them invites the audience to discover, through research and observation, that “spark” of affinity generated by perception.

    The path follows the thin line that defines different artistic languages, such as figurative art and abstract art, but also performance, photography, NFT, happening, video and installation. And everything with the utmost respect to the historical heritage and design purpose of the house.

    This was, in fact, the toughest challenge for the curators Anna Kessler and Anna Niutta. They looked for the harmony within different poetics, and created a unique and unexpected domestic experience. An experience deeply related to the visible.

    Starting from the “Sleeping Girl” (yes, she will be actually sleeping in the bedroom of the house), the exhibition reveals a path through memories and people, mysteries and objects and colors and hopes. And in fact, isn’t the bed the one, true realm of imagery and imagination, dreams and visualizations?

    Every night, as we lay our day down, we practice the art of letting go. We leave our conscious thoughts, our rational mind behind, and we agree to see, and be seen  –  we accept to yield control. And as we do that, we gift ourselves to the domain of imagery  –  key and vehicle to those intimate, submerged places and spaces. At night, it is instinct and imagery that guide our experience.

    Research on the visible is a challenge to observation directed to the observer. There certainly is a real world that we know, but how much of this real world is exhausted in our sensory experience?

    Through the dialogue between works, the observer discovers similarities between different languages that ultimately prove to be distant only in appearance. Different artistic means manage to generate, through perception, a living impression in continuous dialogue with the observer.

    The common features, or affinities, between the different forms of expression appear very clear at times: the figurative often finds itself drawing from elements that are not properly its own, and the non-figurative struggles to disregard sensory reality that is also perhaps only an illusion.

    To what degree is our sensory perception conditioned by our inner state and to what extent is it – instead – influenced by our surroundings?

    The show will be featuring the following artists: Michele Dal Bosco, Louise Daniel, Giovanni De Benedetto, Laura Grinberga, Alessandro Grimoldieu, Rosanna Iob, Rebecca Loro, Guenda Nocentini, Carolina Pozzi, Maddalena Tesser, Maria Giovanna Zanella. With the precious contribution of Annalisa Iob. Everything was made possible by the vision of Fabio Tacchinardi.

    Curated by Anna & Anna
    On House Milano, Via Passione 8, Milan, Italy
    Vernissage by invitation only
    For more information: art@onhousemilano.com

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    Feb 9 – Sep 8, 2024
    Mudam
    Luxembourg

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