Behind Closed Doors is an installation by Chilean artist, Manuela Viera-Gallo, presented at Y Gallery in New York and organized with independent curator, Ian Cofre. Viera-Gallo has created a modern-day fable by staging the tense moment before a decision is taken and its consequences unleashed. Like crudely cobbled together forces, our corvine protagonists, or antagonists, sit at the brief nexus between violence and peace, able to see the benefits to picking sides, though their allegiances are unclear. The groups of avian figures are vigilant and in various degrees of preparedness, inhabiting a state between the Hitchcockian panic in The Birds and the Kubrickian deliberations of Dr. Strangelove, and exhibit a strangeness wholly the artist’s own. These survivalists are characters trapped within a discourse about Security, in contrast to the rarefied place of the decision-makers that attempt to set the parameters of that discourse. Inevitably grounded into a much more primitive calculus, they form the conspiratorial, collusive, and murky alliances that hopefully lead to being on the right side of life and death. Will these choices hurry along the process of growth or that of extinction?
These moments have replayed many times throughout the 20th and 21st centuries in fact, but have been mediated heavily by endless interpretations from journalists, films, television, oppositional figures, and anyone trying to grasp or take hold of the narrative. The security paradigm historically waxes and wanes in importance or relevance to the everyday citizen, though recently, the discussion has become universal without receding, and the cacophony of voices feverish. The installation opens up questions about how the system works, how to make its elusiveness more intelligible, and whose agency, what actions, and what powers can possibly control the blind exercise of imposing order. It alludes to international conflicts, "peacekeeping" missions, behind-closed-door dealings, and the forces that loom mysteriously in the background of major world events whose effects extend far beyond the foreseeable.
Manuela Viera-Gallo, a Chilean artist, was born in Rome, Italy in 1977. Exhibiting internationally, she has shown at institutions such as the El Museo del Barrio, New York; Chelsea Art Museum, New York, East Asia Contemporary Museum, Shanghai, China; Museum of Contemporary, Santiago, Chile; The Spanish Cultural Center in Guatemala; Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI), Sidney, Australia; 5o Bienal do Mercosur, Portoalegre, Brazil; Viera-Gallo also recently participated in artist residencies including Residence 09 at the Futura Center for Contemporary Art, Prague, Czech Rep. and FLACC Workplace for Visual Artists, Genk, Belgium. She lives and works between Chile and New York.