“The Garden of Forking Paths”
Julio Blancas, Monika Bravo , Manolo González, Michèle Magema
“The Garden of Forking Paths”
2019/10/15 – 12/07
Cooperation with Galería Saro León
Julio Blancas was born in 1967 in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. He studied art at Las Escuelas de Artes Plásticas in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria and sculpture in Santa Cruz, Tenerife. He works mainly with pencil or graphite on paper, canvas, or satellite dishes and has participated in more than forty group exhibitions and seven solo exhibitions in both his home in Gran Canaria, Spain as well as other countries such as Belgium, Italy, and Germany.
Working almost exclusively with pencil and graphite, Blancas uses nature as a source of inspiration. His methodology is simple: to fill the artistic surface by repeating the essential graphic gesture – the line. The line made with graphite reflects light, creates subtle gradations, and molds forms that arise from the opacity of the black surface. Blancas works with the idea of memory, simulating natural spaces that serve as mental landscapes. These landscapes provide a strongly structural sense of the end result through the art’s intention and meaning.
Arising from her ongoing research on color and rhythm, Monika Bravo’s new works place us in an abyss pulsing with vibrating waves of energy, where readability and meaning remain elusive. After Bergson’s understanding of time and his concept of duration –which differentiates between the time that we measure in intervals and the time of our experience–Bravo aims for an interconnected sense of unity between space and time through an understanding of our mind´s cognitive structure, which gives to formless reality both shape and meaning. Thus, the visual layers and cycles that dwell between those states of abstraction and their corresponding materiality are what Bravo´s work reveals to us and what we are supposed to experience through it.
Throughout her new installation, in the form of a mosaic of ideas, Bravo shows the gathering and editing of images through stitching, weaving, and compositing. Bravo also uses color to create a material contrast, a physical experience grounded in the circular duration of time in the piece. In the center of five monitors, three projectors, and sound, the viewer undergoes a hyper- rhythm.
For Bravo, the skin –our skin– is what translates these sensorial forms. For her, the body is the site where form and content develop an exchange, a dialogue, and where a balance between them is struck. Following this conceptual frame, the one who knows and understands the surface is the one who can experience the depths and the void. As Paul Valéry used to say, “the skin is the deepest thing there is.” But, at the same time, inspired by the mechanical and hallucinatory vision of a possible future where robots would see the world as a pixelated blur, Bravo uses technology to assemble a composite of pieces and particles–an animated puzzle of multiple and cracked realities–that allows the viewer to descend into a place where other possibilities –parallel realities and discoveries–exist.
Born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (1965). He started his studies in Fine Arts (1984) at the Central University of Barcelona, leaving them soon to devote himself to plastic arts in a self-taught way, taking as reference all the great masters of sculpture, from the remote author of the Venus de Willendorf, passing through the classics, even contemporary teachers. He begins to exhibit from an early date, in 1982 at the age of seventeen. With “Hedone”, the first work made of metal mesh, which took place at the CIC (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1995) and at the Guimerá Space (Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1996), it is consolidated in the local sculptural panorama of Canary Islands. In 1998 he made the first exhibition with professional gallery, Saro León, with which he maintains professional ties. With this gallery he has exhibited at international events such as ARCO Madrid, VII Biennial of Havana 2000, at the MACO, Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca (Mexico) 2004, Art Basel Miami Beach 2007 (USA), ARTMadrid 2011, JustMadrid 2012, KIAF 2012 Seoul and in association with Bom Gallery of Seoul, Korea. It has works in the public collections, of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Maphre-Guanarteme Foundation (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), CAAM, Leganés Sculpture Museum (Madrid), Royal Canarian Academy of Fine Arts, and private collection in Spain, Mexico, Korea, and considerable number of works public in different municipalities of the island of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Alcalá de Henares (Madrid), and a large number of works in private collections.
Michèle Magema is a Congolese-French video, performance, and photography artist. She was born in Kinshasa Démocratic Républic of Congo in 1977. She emigrated to Paris, France in 1984, where she currently resides. In 2002 she received her MA in fine arts from l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Cergy. She has participated in the Africa Remix Exhibition. Her work has been exhibited in the Global Feminisms exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, the Hirshoron Museum, and Sculpture Garden, the Studio Art Museum in Harlem. She has had several gallery and museum exhibitions, including at the Departemental Museum of Contemporary Art Rochechouart, Malmö Konsthall and at the Kunsthaus of Gratz. There have been many articles about Michèle Magema, including ‘Exploring a Century of Art From Congo’ written by Rachel Donadio for New York Times in 2015.
She places her work within an intermediate zone, a sort of a mental space or a frontier that she created, which she situates between the “Southern countries” and the “Northen countries”. The exploration of her feminine identity displaced through time, memory, and history, reflects the image of a woman with a new identity that is totally detached from exoticism. A key focus, for her, is articulating a permament exchange between individual stories, collective memory and History. Michèle Magema walks the line between the limits of personal experience and the wider outlook shared by collective anxieties.