Gabriel Sierra’s research is based on exercises of representation which come from reflections on the language of things and the principles that govern architecture, in order to suggest a way of rethinking our idea of space and time. Exploring the borderlines of art, architecture and design, all of Sierra’s work turns on the attempt to interpret a place by starting with the programmatic transformation of its constituent parts, to manipulate the nature of objects by deconstructing their functions, to investigate the temporal logics of everyday existence. Most of his works involve interventions that alter the display space by redefining its architectural dynamics and challenging our way of interacting with them. Each project has to do with the specificities of its context, which Sierra takes over in order to translate it into experiments of temporary and fantastic architecture. Time is a concept to which the artist constantly returns, exploring the possibility of representing the experience of its passage in relation to the space in which we live.
The project made for Peep-Hole consists of a site-specific intervention that radically transforms the space and its perception. Thus Far – its title – comes from the intention to put the temporal dimension of the exhibition into relation with the physical space that contains it, experimenting with the possibility of representing the specific time of contemplation and the experience we make of it. The idea comes from a project Sierra has pursued for years of building a house with specific rooms for the different days of the week: one for Monday, one for Tuesday, another for Wednesday, and so on, with the intent that one can stay only for 24 hours in each room. The house then becomes an abstract calendar in which there is no turning back, as one moves from one room to another following the indications of its structure. In 2007 this project took the form of a book entitled Siete Cavernas, yet unpublished, whose protagonist is the architect Arnulfo Cortina as he builds a utopian dwelling in the mountains of northern Colombia.
The exhibition at Peep-Hole becomes an opportunity to physically materialize this reflection on space and time approached in the book, and to experience the effect of this ideal abode. The artist has subdivided the exhibition space into different areas that ideally represent the rooms of a house. Each zone contains materials, objects or parts that characterize a room: familiar things that take on an utterly abstract and ideal connotation, however, to the extent in which they lose their natural three-dimensional quality and become a two-dimensional projection of themselves. The objects, in fact, are installed inside the walls, offering a glimpse only of their surfaces, and become abstract and only partially recognizable representations. The sequence of the spaces constructs an itinerary paced by the calendar of daily openings of the exhibition space: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each room is connected to a precise day of the week, and visitors can enter it only on that day. Visitors then have a temporal experience of the show, and can only see it in its entirety if they choose to visit the four days of the week in which the gallery is open. All the rooms can be accessed in a single visit only on the day of the opening, Sunday 26 May.
A house or an exhibition with rooms for each day of the week represents, for Gabriel Sierra, an experiment through which to portray the complex relationship between space and time, and the way this relationship can be translated in the tangible modification of a place: a formula to get out of the conventional perception of the world, to understand the logic and mysteries of time.
Gabriel Sierra (San Juan Nepomuceno, 1975. Lives and works in Bogotá, Colombia) took a degree in Industrial Design at the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano of Bogotá. Selected solo shows: Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, 2012; La Casa del Encuentro, MDE07 espacios de hospitalidad, Medellín, 2007; Compuesto Verde (stepmothernature-series), Centre d’Art Contemporain de Brétigny, 2006. In 2012 he participated in The Ungovernables – The New Museum Triennial, New Museum, New York. In 2011 he took part in the Biennials of Lyon and Istanbul, while in 2008 his work was included in the São Paulo Biennial. He has been an artist in residence at: Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, 2012; Gasworks, International Residency Programme, London, 2009; CAC Centre d’Art Contemporain de Brétigny, 2006. Gabriel Sierra is one of the artists included in the 2013 Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.
Selected by Ingrid Melano