Optimismo Radical II
Josée Bienvenu Gallery is pleased to present Optimismo Radical, 2. Bringing together nine
international artists, the title assembles two words that don’t fit well. As a result, a high indefinition
that functions in a number of languages -Spanish, English, Portuguese, French- without being
clearly understandable in any of them. Two redundant or contradictory words? Is radical optimism
the opposite of moderate optimism? Or the opposite of conservative pessimism? The intention is
to create a precise confusion, a label out of focus. In 2012, the gallery will inaugurate a series of
individual project room exhibitions under the same title.
Ricardo Alcaide was born in 1967 in Caracas, Venezuela. He currently lives and works in Sao
Paolo, Brazil. Hinged between the poetic and the political, his juxtapositions of images and
objects question how people cope with economic and social exclusion in different environments.
He has been interested in the Latin American Modernist Movement’s often un-acknowledged debt
to vernacular world architecture. His ongoing series of paintings “A Place to Hide”, based on
photographs of temporary structures built by homeless people, investigates the notion of shelter.
Recent exhibitions include: A Place To Hide, Baró Galería, Sao Paulo (2011); Horizonte Vasado,
Artistas Latinoamericanos en el filo, Instituto Cervantes, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2010).
Benjamin Appel was born in 1978 in Augsburg, Germany, he lives and works in Karlsruhe,
Germany. He graduated from the Karlsruhe Art Academy where he studied under Gerd van
Dülmen, Thomas Zipp and Daniel Roth. At the interface between painting, sculpture and
everyday object while pocking fun at them, Benjamin Appel is committed to the unspectacular and
the fragile. sculptural installation of art povera materials such as concrete, earth, soil and
elements of furniture coexist with abstract compositions on canvas. Recent exhibitions include:
Das Zimmer des Eremiten, NADA Miami, Weingruell gallery, Die Schwelle des Hauses,
Studiokontrolle, Karlsruhe (2010); Wie Der Vogel in seinem Nest, Kunstahalle Mannheim,
Johanna Calle was born in Bogota, Colombia in 1965 where she lives and works. She received
her MFA from the Chelsea College of Art at the London Institute, London UK in 1993. For the last
ten years, she has been focusing exclusively on the medium of drawing. Her work consists of a
non-narrative, critical and analytical approach to social and cultural issues in Colombia,
specifically matters relating to women and children, social structures, urbanism and language.
Her work was recently featured at the 12th Istanbul Biennial in Turkey, and is currently on view in
The Air We Breathe at the San Francisco Museum of Art and in Submergentes: a drawing
approach on masculinities, Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Long Beach, California.
Since 2006 she has had several solo exhibitions with Galeria Casa Riegner in Bogota. She is
now preparing for a solo show at Galeria Marilia Radzuk in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Born in Buenos Aires in 1961, Alejandro Corujeira moved to Madrid in 1991. His meditative
paintings and drawings refer to American Minimalism from Agnes Martin to Brice Marden, and to
the Latin American abstract geometric tradition. A past resident of the Josef and Annie Albers
Foundation, he has exhibited extensively in Europe and South America with solo exhibitions at
the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid and at the IVAM in Valencia. Recent and upcoming exhibitions
include: Dan Galeria, Sao Paolo, Brazil (2012); El Comienzo, Marlborough gallery, Madrid, Spain;
Lo accessible, vestido de sales, Marlborough Gallery, New York (2009).
Dario Escobar was born in Guatemala City in 1971 where he lives and works. He is known for
his sculptural re-contextualization of everyday objects exploring concepts of sculptural, cultural,
and historical hybridity. In 2009, he represented Guatemala at the 53rd Venice
Biennale. Upcoming and recent exhibitions include: Singular-Plural, a traveling solo exhibition at
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Atlanta, GA (2012). Selections from the Jumex
collection, at the Instituto Cultural Cabañas, Guadalajara, México (2011); Video otra vez, Museo
de Arte Contemporáneo de Fortaleza, Brazil (2011); From the Recent Past: New Acquisitions,
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, CA (2011). His first monograph will be
published by Harvard University Press this year.
Miguel Mitlag was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1969 and currently lives in Turin, Italy. He
studied film making in Buenos Aires in the 1990’s where he became a member of the
experimental art group, ‘Art Destroy’. Minilab, Color Tests, Tropical Experiment: Miguel Mitlag’s
photographs seem to document the lab of some mad scientist, they blur the boundaries between
science and fiction. Ordinary and nearly abstract objects are carefully arranged in spaces filled
with light and super bright colors in a ‘70’s Povera’ aesthetics that recalls Pedro Almodovar’s
early film sets. Recent exhibitions include: Como Hacer Un Experimento, Galería Braga
Menéndez, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2010); Anunciamos una repetición....Espacio Telefónica,
Buenos Aires, Argentina (2010).
Philomene Pirecki was born in the Channel Islands, UK in 1972, she lives and works in London.
She received her MA from The Royal College of Art, London in 1996. At the core of her work is an
ongoing enquiry into notions of definitive representations. Using a range of media from painting,
photography, drawing and sculpture, Pirecki employs slight gestures to modify fixed points of
experience in time, history and visual memory. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include: Aukje
Koks and Philomene Pirecki, MOT International, Brussels, Belgium (2012); Clockwork Gallery,
Berlin, Germany (2012); Laure Guenillard, London (2011) ; Aftermath, Chelsea space, London
(2011). She also runs the project space Occasionals in London.
Marco Rountree was born in Mexico DF in 1982. He started his career as a graffiti artist in the
streets of Mexico, where he still lives. Lately, he has been creating installations of altered books,
questioning the access to knowledge in countries where the lower income population doesn’t gain
access to education. Recent exhibitions include: Group Show, Museo de arte Moderno, Mexico
DF (2011); Art Positions, Art Basel Miami Beach, Travesía Cuatro, Madrid (2011); Commissioned
project curated by Patrick Charpenel for the Coppel collection, Culiacan Sinaloa, Mexico (2011);
Nothingless and the being, Coleccion Jumex, Mexico DF, Curated by Shamim Momin (2009).
Fidel Sclavo was born in 1960 in Uruguay. He lives and works in Montevideo and Buenos Aires.
As an acclaimed graphic designer, he has published many illustrations and became reknown for
his poster designs. His current work involves fragmenting language in many ways, creating
abstract alphabets, micro-pop watercolors and minimal installations. Recent exhibitions include:
Cartas no leídas, Tiempos Modernos, Madrid, Spain (2011); Recent work, Centro Cultural de
España, Montevideo, Uruguay (2011); Canvas and papers, Galería Jorge Mara-La Ruche,
Buenos Aires, Argentina (2010).