We are happy to be participating for the first time at The Armory Show.
For our booth presentation in the PRESENTS Section (P21) we have invited Mexican curator, Paulina Ascencio Fuentes, to curate a selection of recent work by Leo Marz and Ana Navas.
A Robot’s Delirious Wardrobe
If, as they say, a change of clothes is a change of skin, what does it mean when a robot gets new clothes?
For this year’s edition of The Armory Show, Pequod Co. presents A Robot’s Delirious Wardrobe, a collaborative project between artists Ana Navas (Quito, Ecuador, 1984) and Leo Marz (Zapopan, Mexico, 1979). Developed through a series of conversations that took place over several months, the booth is organized as a collection of “family portraits” where the main characters are everyday objects: domestic appliances that pose with their new clothes, artifacts that mingle with each other through reflection and overlap, pairs of eyes that hover disembodied, and a rendezvous of household items. These group portraits are presented as visual compositions in Marz’s paintings or as snaps yet to be shot in Navas’s sculptural arrangements.
In A Robot’s Delirious Wardrobe, Navas and Marz explore the possibilities of painting and sculpture, presenting a profound understanding of these media and their history. Sharing a color palette based on oxide, ochre, and shades of gray, their collaboration introduces sculptures as paintings and paintings of sculptures, and engages with the sculptural possibilities of painting. Moreover, they have created a world where human action is indexed but there are no humans around. It is a Sci-Fi scenario where objects and machines are absolved from their functionality, where they can live and behave as humans do.
In the center of the booth, Navas presents a series of artifacts dressed up in costumes. Interested in the sculptural qualities of the items we use every day and their resemblance to the shapes of historic artworks, the artist has created a body of three-dimensional objects covered in custom-made attires. Part of a larger series of sculptures, these works integrate Navas’s interest in the history of Modern art, textile work, and industrial design to create a fashion collection modeled by the commodities we share our lives with. The fabric of these sculptures’ wardrobe combines mass-produced commercial patterns with hand-painted copies of the same motifs, with which the artist constructs one-of-a-kind tailoring patterns for each appliance. When these textile works are stretched as paintings, they give a cue to yet another formal exercise, which the artist accurately translates as the titles of the works. Then, our domestic items in drag become a dragon’s head, an insect with antennae and wings, or a figure wearing a hat.
Marz’s paintings also deal with everyday objects and their shapes, although he works with volume and form through drawing sketches. These compositions include several layers of drawings previously traced on iPad, which are combined, escalated, overlapped, and abstracted to be painted as complex vignettes that are in-between several historical genres of Fine Art painting. These works are, at the same time, landscapes, still lifes, and portraits. They represent architectural spaces, objects in disguise, reflective surfaces, and characters, which merge into each other to create what the artist describes as “sculptural paintings”. Integrating color block painting, gradients, lines, and brushstrokes, Marz’s works reflect on physical space through the creation of virtual spaces. Relying on the economy of information, the shapes and profiles of the components of these images unfold historical and everyday referents without pointing at their specificity: the ghosts of painting appear through layers of color, outlines, light, and shadows.
A Robot’s Delirious Wardrobe introduces a compelling reading of our relationship with the artifacts that surround us. The project presents books, furniture, mirrors, bottles, brooms, and other items not only as tools but as companions of human life. As our lives endure in personal and domestic spaces, these relationships extend beyond utilitarian connections in order to get to know and understand ourselves better through these objects. Hence, a portrait of our everyday objects is also a family portrait.
Text by Paulina Ascencio Fuentes
Photos by Silvia Ros