LA><ART PROJECT SPACE and LAPD – LA Public Domain
Gustavo Artigas: Vote for Demolition
Internationally acclaimed artist Gustavo Artigas will produce his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles at LA><ART. For Vote for Demolition, Artigas is developed a survey to compile a selection of buildings in Los Angeles with the least aesthetical values. The project is a study in how locals see their own environment and about the democratic possibilities of changing it. He relates this investigation to Marcel Duchamp’s concept of infrathin – the indescribable conceptual membrane that overlays plastic representation. Artigas’s highly accessible yet formally and intellectually advanced artistic interventions in Los Angeles expose the thinness of community and the vast tensions that can foreshadow societal breakdown. It is no accident that this city experienced terrible race riots in recent history, making it a perfect site for Artigas to develop his investigation. Artigas has put together a list of buildings in Los Angeles that will be voted on by residents through a website he has designed and in various voting booths that will be located throughout the city. The survey Artigas initiates will be publicized through a postering campaign and results will be translated by the artist in the form of a formal inquiry for demolition of the winning building to the local government. Using this survey as a point of departure, Artigas will create a site-specific incarnation of this project at LA><ART and produce a video simulation of the demolition of the winning building. The exhibition brings together LA><ART’s broad-based public art initiatives and efforts to expand across borders and internationalize programming.
Gustavo Artigas’ broader practice encompasses institutional critique, the exposure of social tensions through artificially devised, game-based platforms, and the exploration of how abstract notions like borders and social contracts affect reality. These provocative interventions progressed to a new level at the cross-border exhibition inSITE 2000, in which Artigas realized his two-part piece Rules of the Game I & II. In Rules of the Game I, the artist installed handball courts on both sides of the United States/Mexico border, which were quickly taken over and utilized by residents. The playful interactions that occurred when a ball would fall on the opposite of the fence only to be congenially returned emphasized the realities of migration and the superficiality of the made-up border space. Artigas further developed this layered social commentary with Rules of the Game II, in which a Mexican football (soccer) team and an American basketball team negotiated for space on the same court in a Tijuana high school. The tensions and jostling, sometimes approaching violence, were ultimately resolved as the players learned to move fluidly around and between one another, living symbiotically but within two very separate frameworks. His work is simultaneously instantly accessible and highly poetic, and he masterfully uses conflict to tease out insights into the real out of a morass of socially abstracted concepts.
Gustavo Artigas currently lives and works in Mexico City. He has shown internationally to great acclaim, and his work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, inSITE 2000, as well as the Venice and Prague Biennials. His recent solo exhibitions include: Accidentes, ejecuciones y documentos recientes at the Hilario Galguera Gallery in San Rafael, Mexico (2007); Gustavo Artigas – Game, risk and disasters 10 years survey at Te Manawa Art in New Zealand (2007); and Chemical Misunderstanding at the Gallerie Jette Rudolph in Berlin, Germany (2006).