Once Within a Room

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Once Within a Room © courtesy of laurie halsey brown
Nine Letters Sent with a Tenth Kept Back and an Eleventh Received, 2008 White Vinyl On Black Wall Dimensions Variable © courtesy of the Artist and New Langton Arts
Once Within a Room

1246 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA 94103-3817
March 28th, 2008 - May 31st, 2008
Opening: April 10th, 2008 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Mon-Sun 9:30-5:30 (office)


Alejandro Cesarco uses words and found narratives as pretexts, inscribing his practice in the lineage of conceptual artists focused on language, the instability of classification, and the possible reverberation of the linguistic system within the visual system. Using strategies such as cataloging, appropriation, narration, translation, and the reading and misreading of pre-existing texts, the Uruguayan-born, Brooklyn-based artist constructs a multimedia practice that ranges from video to drawing, from installations to book publishing.

For this exhibition Cesarco presents Once Within a Room, an installation that is neither completely narrative nor primarily formal. It is at once the synopsis, the set, the characters, and the props of a story--a spatial configuration dominated by the phantoms of particular pasts. It presents the classic trope of lover, beloved, and the space between them. An installation in which the traces of two characters are staged but not made explicit. Not knowing--or almost not knowing--where the characters in the story come from, where they are going, turns them into symbols. Their isolation from the remainder of the narrative operates as a kind of egalitarian leveling: we are unaware of whether they are secondary figures or pivotal to the text from which they are taken. We learn as much about them as we do about the setting within which they are presented, that, moreover, resembles a stage set with its props, lights, and bits of scenery. Some works within this configuration might be looked at as strategies of forgetting, others as indexes of the past-ness of the past. Souvenirs. Remains. What is to be remembered, that is, what is still standing between what was and what is no more. But also the ways in which we choose to, or can, remember the past. The theatricality of language and the relationships bound and created through it. How is meaning felt? The general performative dimension of the installation derives from quotation, which attributes the elements of a story to fleeting remarks, at the same time enigmatic and familiar (already-known): a quality we could perhaps describe as that of emotional ready-mades.

Alejandro Cesarco has exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States, Latin America and Europe. His most recent solo exhibitions include Retrospective, in collaboration with John Baldessari, Murray Guy, New York (2007); Some Recent Examples, Murray Guy, New York (2006); and Margeurite Duras--India Song, Art in General, New York (2006). These exhibitions addressed, through different formats and strategies, his recurrent interests in repetition, narrative, and the practices of reading and translating. He has curated exhibitions and projects in Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil and is the editor of Between Artists, an ongoing series of pocket sized, conversation based books published by A.R.T. Press, New York. He lives and works in New York.