Past Exhibition

Nobody Leaves, Everybody Goes

Opening Reception March 11, 2010 7-9pm 501 Lexington Ave

Blue Box Gallery is pleased to introduce its inaugural exhibition, Nobody Leaves, Everybody Goes, and the first solo show from New Media artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo.

After exhibiting in places as far afield as Austin, Texas and Linz, Austria, the Los Angeles-born, New York-based Barcia-Colombo brings his pioneering collection of interactive, multi-media artworks – an amalgam of three-dimensional objects and two-dimensional video, dubbed “video sculpture”– to New York City.

Nobody Leaves, Everybody Goes is an exhibition about memorialization and, more specifically, the act of leaving one’s imprint for the next generation. While formally implemented by natural history museums and collections (which find their roots in Renaissance “cabinets of curiosities”), this process has grown more pointed and pervasive in the modern-day obsession with personal digital archiving and the corresponding growth of social media culture. The exhibition includes ten digital sculptures that play upon this exigency in our culture to chronicle, preserve and wax nostalgic, an idea which Barcia-Colombo renders visually by “collecting” human beings (alongside cultural archetypes) as scientific specimens. He repurposes everyday objects like blenders, suitcases and cans of Spam® into venues for projecting and inserting videos of people. While making conspicuous references to Marcel Duchamps’ ‘Ready-Mades,’ he also draws from an eclectic range of other influences, from the combines of Robert Rauschenberg and the video spectacles of Aernout Mik to taxonomy texts and anatomical drawings.

The exhibition’s centerpiece and the artist’s most ambitious piece to date (as well as one for which he’s garnered international acclaim) is Animalia Chordata, which comes from the Latin nomenclature for human beings. Six video-projected people representing a range of typologies – from the Wall Street businessman to the precocious little girl – are “trapped” inside glass volumes of varying shapes (including a sinuous Cognac bottle and a chemistry beaker), much like insects are captured in jars. The projection through two panes of glass transforms the traditional two-dimensional video into three-dimensional holographic images. The visual effect is stunning.

Animalia Chordata also makes use of Barcia-Colombo’s technical background as a trained filmmaker, video editor and animator. One projector concurrently plays six different videos, meticulously stitched together as a single composite video, on a ten-minute loop. In their natural state, the projected people stand, sit, waver and lean. But when they feel “threatened” by a viewer approaching the work, they react in a defensive manner. (The artist shot separate footage of all six people’s defensive reactions, which are triggered by an infrared sensor.) When approached by the viewer, the entrapped businessman, for example, shoos you away with his newspaper, suggesting that the glass enclosures act as much as a defensive shield as they do a self-imposed form of entrapment. The idea of personal space, both literal and digital, has, incidentally, become a singular theme running throughout the artist’s work.

Black Thursday also requires the viewer’s direct engagement, but in contrast to Animalia Chordata, this work involves embedding actual video screens into objects in the tradition of video artist Nam June Paik. The viewer peers through a microscope to find six miniature businessmen pinned down like butterfly specimens—six traditionally masculine “suits” rendered fragile and paralyzed.

In Separation Anxiety, the artist presents an oculus-shaped video of himself, naked and in the fetal position, which has been embedded into the center of a white-painted suitcase, representative of a sterile womb. The artist places a Fresnel lens over the encased video, bending the image and evoking a live ultrasound.

Other works are more tongue-in-cheek. In Spam, a Spam® can contains a looped video of a girl continuously shouting the aggressively absurdist prose of spam emails. The viewer must peer directly into the can to observe the footage; again, the artist is demanding the viewer’s physical engagement with his work. Here Barcia-Colombo is exploring the negative side of communication in the digital age.

Works

Animalia Chordata

Gabriel Barcia-Colombo

2006

Video, Projector, Glass, Proximity sensor, Tiny people

Double Yolk

Gabriel Barcia-Colombo

2010

Video, Plastic, Siamese lovers

Double Yolk (installation view)

Gabriel Barcia-Colombo

2010

Video, Plastic, Siamese lovers

Jitterbox

Gabriel Barcia-Colombo

2007

Video, projector, 1940’s Silvertone radio, Dancer

Jitterbox (installation)

Gabriel Barcia-Colombo

2007

Video, projector, 1940’s Silvertone radio, Dancer

Blend

Gabriel Barcia-Colombo

2008

Video, Projector, Blender, Housewife

I Would Do It Again!

Gabriel Barcia-Colombo

2010

Video, LCD screen, Suitcase, Chains, Artist’s mouth (night before surgery)

Going to Grandpa’s

Gabriel Barcia-Colombo

2009

Video, LCD screen, Suitcase, Knives, Fresnel lens, Human heart

Separation Anxiety

Gabriel Barcia-Colombo

2009

Video, LCD screen, Suitcase, Acrylic, Fetal version of the artist

Spam

Gabriel Barcia-Colombo

2008

Video, Aluminum, Plastic, Tiny woman