Galería Karen Huber presents Pieles ciegas [Blind Skin], the gallery’s first solo show of Allan Villavicencio (Mexico City, 1987). The exhibition opens on April 27 and will be on view through June 26, 2021. Pieles ciegas consists of a series of paintings and sculptures arranged around a large-dimension landscape, El cortejo [Courtship]*. Painted as a triptych, this work is wagered on the contradiction between visual illusions on the canvas and how one of its panels plays out in tension with the physical space of the gallery. This new body of work continues Villavicencio’s exploration of perception in painting. With a visual language that connects tangible and virtual realities, he animates diverse visions in which the materiality of color acts both as visual interruption and bodily activity. The works that make up Pieles ciegas generate an oscillation between surfaces and volumes, described in the artist’s own words as an “invitation to explore a ‘residual landscape’ (landscape-fragment) created out of reminiscences of my everyday surroundings.” Here, both shapes and motifs appear and disappear in successive mutations and gradations over the course of a process of pictorial composition that has extended its residues into the gallery. In this sense, Allan Villavicencio’s spatial imaginary refers to the changing state of material during an image’s construction, both visually and physically. By juxtaposing accumulation and excavation – and making use of multiple layers of paint and textiles – his works reveal the hidden, the impalpable, and the phantasmagoric side of things. For all their formal quality, Allan Villavicencio’s works are sensitive pieces that heighten the imagination through their interaction with sensory reality. Pieles ciegas thus plays with a material eroticism that reveals metaphors for the formed and the formless; of the inanimate and the living.
*Fernanda Ballesteros's text that accompanies the exhibition is inspired by the spatial and material narratives entail in this piece. The safety of the gallery staf and visitors is our priority and we follow the procedures established by the authorities.
A long, thin arm of sunlight pokes one of the empty areas of the house. Oceania turns of the lamp with a moon for a bulb, picks up the fabric surrounding the fist-sized celestial body, unfolds it, twirls it up toward the see-through ceiling, lifts her arms, and closes her eyes as the fabric falls down over her as a dress. Maria, along with her outfit, changes her contact lenses’ color, brushes her curly hair, and changes gender. Now Oceania is Ocean in his tap shoes.
Hot water with lime before cofee, Kundalini breathing exercises before the morning cigarette. He throws the cofee grounds down into one of the house’s bottomless lakes while warming up his high notes aaa aaa aaa aaa aaaaa’s. Ocean’s waves turn the water into mist aaa aaa aaa aaa aaaaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aaaaa.
The long, thing arm of a person touches one of the house’s curtains.
“Knock, knock, knock,” says Ginger, his hand knocking the silk.
His eyelashes are sewn together, the upper to the lower. Ocean’s singing has stunned him, and now he can’t remember where to find the scissors to open his eyelids. Mar takes one of the swords hanging from the see-through ceiling and dips it into the mist of one of the bottomless lakes, pronouncing his deep, mmm mmm mmm mmm mmmmm’s now. He takes out the sword, now miniature, opens the curtain, and says:
“Good Morning, Ginger.”
“Ocean, thanks to you, I…”
“Sh sh ssssh.”
Ocean holds Ginger’s neck still while he cuts the knots in his eyelashes with the miniature sword. His eyelids open. There are no eyes behind them, just two black holes.
“Why are you doing your vocal exercises so early? You know it doesn’t do me any good,” Ginger says.
“Sorry, love. The plants asked me to.”
Ginger turns around to see, using the dark masses in his face, the plant pots shaped like mouths, and the frond that doesn’t block the view to the yard. She picks up some leaves, wraps himself in them, brushes his straight hair into braids to become Gingerine.
“Today I’m going to make you a fruitcake,” Ocean tells her, “so you’ll have to forgive me my intrusion on your dream.”
Ocean flirtatiously approaches Gingerine with his footsteps tap clack clack clacking. The plants walk over Gingerine’s muscles, who waits, perfectly still, for Ocean’s kiss. Their tongues play together, Gingerine’s slides down to the dimple in Ocean’s chin, a fruit-flavored hole. Grape, apple, melon, banana, papaya. The leaves, as slowly as clouds, keep crawling toward the bits of galaxy that Gingerine carries like eyes.
— Fernanda Ballesteros, April 2021
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