THE SPACE BETWEEN NOW AND THEN
November 26 - February 18
curated by Natalie Kovacs and Cristobal Riestra
The Space Between Now and Then
From up high:
Galeria OMR is situated in the Roma district of Mexico City. For those who have not visited the gallery, or the city, a setting and backdrop establishes a series of ruminations, that rest upon a foundation, that exist in a form, that echoes the thematic implications of the exhibition.
Galeria OMR overlooks Plaza Rio de Janeiro, a charming park with a replica of Michelangelo's David in its centre. Close by, Marsella street meets Havre, intersects with Londres and passes into La Reforma and criss-crosses with Insurgentes - the longest avenue in the world. Move over to the east a bit and the you find the Plaza de la Constitución - one of the largest in the world. Adjacent to it is the main Cathedral which happens to be beside the relatively recently unearthed ancient pyramid ruins of the Templo Mayor. To say that Mexico City is rich in history, diversity, and narrative is an understatement.
Simultaneously its streets have namesakes that claim other spaces from around the world. The city is a reflection of globalism, long before the term became mainstream. And in many ways the spatial dynamics and aesthetic fabric of the city is something we could not avoid even if it was something that we did not explicitly speak about during our curatorial discussions on the bridge of Galeria OMR.
It's (mostly) always sunny in Mexico City.
We are sitting in the shade on a bridge that joins two spaces, two buildings together.Galeria OMR consists of a grand colonial baroque-revival buildin*g that was once a family residence, connected to a dignified residence that the same family built some 30 years later in the Art Deco style. The two houses, now art galleries, have many rooms. We are on the point where the two buildings conjoin and it is a favourite gathering place for visitors, and a thinking place for Cristobal, whom I have co-curated the show with. In between and outside of all of these rooms we are thinking about our ideas, and the artworks that will compliment and enact those spaces. In a city of such magnitude, a bridge between styles, and time, might be the most stable place to think and collect our implicit thoughts. And on a bridge between two buildings that comprise one gallery we cognitively map out an exhibition that is bound to space ( * or not? maybe it’s an ephemeral online experience? do we say that point here - a meeting point live and online for our multiple skype journeys into rendering possible an imagination station??? . That process of plotting out our ideas takes on an oddly existentialist tone, one in which our freedom is bound to the reality of the architecture on either side of us. * yet the sculpting process of collaboration both between curators , artists , time and space has primarily been an online experience of expansive and fresh stimuli..
At risk of sounding tautological, and we make no apologies for that, our discussion loosens up and a stream of consciousness ensues the exhibition, it is about: architecture - information, the mind, cognitively the mind's eye - and time and space and what happens between now and then - it is an illumination that invites participation - considerations of authorship - between the work and the gallery space, the audience and viewership. The space between now and then is both the title, a metaphor for the work of art and the foundation of an exhibition, and the gallery platform as a forum; and we are reflecting and projecting ideas about what was, and what could be, in an exhibition as proposition, an experiment - and investigation of the nature of where we live now - and we do this through the lens of technology, mass media and information culture; but we also do it through tradition, emotion, and fantasy.
Like all sculpture which confronts and alters our relationship to our surroundings, the architecture of this experience, like a spectre, also asks us to consider our relationship to where and how we live now and what happens between now and then.
The Space Between Now and Then
It was really an architectural encounter:
We can remember that in our discussions the title arose at the point in which one notices that in the absence of the sun, the Mexico City night takes on a chilly breeze and that even though the day was warm, there wasn't quite enough sun for the temperature to not plummet. I'm a little bit cool, and the droning noises from the Roma district have subsided.It's about Space. - real / virtual / historical - what was and could be - projection & reflection
Or, the exhibition must be about now.
The ever-present weightiness of now, as we are still sitting here on the bridge and it is getting late. Or the now, which implies the contemporary, and the way in which art is constantly re-defining what we are as a culture. So then, it must be about then, the place that we will get to when the course of these works has been consumed and when we have feasted on the past. And of course we laugh a bit because we realize that we are in between all of those things. And we are happy because we know that the artists we have selected have too ruminated on these ideas and have made their implicit thoughts explicit.
On an eschatological level the space between now and then suggests a rite of passage, or a passage to a final destiny. We reflect on the concept of a Mexico with stories existing before stories. And we think about the visual heterodoxy we are presenting. If one were to reach to Catholic ritual, or Mayan prophecy, the space between now and then can represent an apocalyptic eschatology. And if we keep our propositional word as curators, maybe this can explain why some of the works in the exhibition exist as a reckoning.
If there is a comeuppance at play we can see in this architectural encounter of the gallery space an injection of politicality and current global events acting in a portentous manner.
We review our text:
The writer hopes that this text can act as a map for the viewer. This map is a user's guide to self authoring the experience of consuming an exhibition. In what ways can each of the works that follows in this catalogue resonate with an architectural, metaphysical and literal impulse? Spatiality in the literal sense, implies that there is a space in the work and outside of it, that combines the current phenomenon of the virtual, internet, and social media where all that is solid is mirrored in a virtual reflection. The now, the present, as an encounter with the artwork is always buttressed by the past; therefore, Galeria OMR is the now, resting on the foundation of its past.That was then this is now:
The exhibition for us is both fleeting and inspirational. It arose because of a dialogue with Cristobal, and because of my initial visit to OMR and the architectural encounter I experienced with the gallery space. It is our intention that the viewer will continue the discussion and will join us in our setting on the bridge, as a paradigm for a way of seeing this show. In this way, the viewer too can be included in the dialogue and too can be the author of this exhibition.
With this dialogue in mind, our duality arises once again. As a guide it is helpful in establishing a dramatic narrative arc. The exhibition can exist as a purist pursuit of aesthetics and thus a utopia, or it can exist as a critique and a warning in the context of the very real problems that exist in the world; hence, a dystopia. And if we have been establishing a topography all along, then really this dramatic fork in the road can be considered the crux of the exhibition. The bridge seen here on this map, exists against a setting and backdrop that depicts an art-world that both controls the world and is controlled by it. If there are no problems, then there are no solutions. We live in a world out of our control and because of that, we can write stories and make art. Without that lack, everything would be perfect and thus, banal. And if this text will guide you, there will always be a logic to the thoughts on this exhibition because even at the point of rupture, art can bridge the past, present and future.
Natalie Kovacs, December 2011