Blain Southern, Paul Kasmin and Galería Hilario Galguera present an amazing site-specific installation by Bosco Sodi in Casa Wabi, Oaxaca, Mexico. 102.000 clay bricks are unveiled on 4 March 2019.
THE WORLD OF 102.000 CLAY BRICKS
“A monumental scale dramatic structure"
Review by Zoltan Alexander
"Atlantes" by Bosco Sodi / © video by Zoltan Alexander ZOLTAN+MEDIA
While “Heavens and the Earth” the latest exhibition of the New York based Mexican artist Bosco Sodi is still showing at Blain Southern London, on 4 March, the artist unveiled a new monumental site-specific installation “Atlantes “ situated in the largely uninhabited area near to Puerto Escondido along the Oaxacan coast in Mexico, nearby to the artist’s foundation, Casa Wabi.
"Atlantes”, the wildly ambitious work of land art, consists of 102,000 clay bricks and it is the result of a collaboration of three art galleries: Blain Southern (London), Paul Kasmin (New York) and Galería Hilario Galguera (Mexico).
- over two years of construction
- the project consists of 64 cubes of 7 feet x 7 feet x 7 feet
- each cube is composed of 1,600 clay bricks
- the overall installation consists of 102,000 clay bricks, weighing over 700 tones
- the bricks are made by hand by the artist and his local team of craftsmen in Oaxacan
The first “Muro” - the Wall - was built in 2017 in New York, on Washington Square, a one-day installation. It was constructed with 1,600 bricks made in Mexico with the help of local craftsmen. Each brick was signed by Sodi and after the installation visitors were invited to dismantle it brick-by-brick and take part of it home.
Sodi had three goals that day: to be a public artist, a performer and wanted to create an installation. With his Mexican friends living in New York he assembled the wall during the morning starting at 6am, then between 9am - 3pm it was public art - people passed by, asked questions, took pictures - and at 3pm, they dissembled the wall like a performance.
With the installation-performance Sodi wanted to contribute to the current political state of the US. “Muro” was a subtle and strong message, a gift to President Trump, but also a social exercise, how to get people together for a cause. There were a lot of artists, architects, opera singers, writers, even the Mayor sent someone to place a brick.
“When you bring people together, it’s powerful. You could disassemble any wall, not just physical, political, or economical, any kind of barrier - human, gender, political - can be dismantled when society gets together”. Bosco Sodi
In London Sodi built another wall in front of the National Gallery as part of “Art Night”, curated by the Hayward Gallery. He used the same bricks made in Mexico. “It is important to raise our voices especially when you are an artist”
Regarding the third wall, the wall between Mexico and the US, Sodi declares that it will never work. “It is crazy to think that a wall can stop the spirit of people”.
The philanthropic Casa Wabi art foundation, situated on the West Coast of Mexico, in Oaxaca, designed by the genius Japanese architect Tadao Ando, has an 8000ft gallery where Sodi invites established Mexican artists to work and collaborate.
Not far from the foundation, near to Puerto Escondido, on a largely deserted and uninhabited area the site-specific installation “Atlantes" was constructed over two years and unveiled this week . It is a monumental scale and gridded structure form an observatory for experiencing the dramatic variance in light and landscape at different times of day, and over the course of the year. Standing amongst the cubes, the dramatic sightlines of the landscape are reconfigured according to the viewer’s orientation, emphasising the power of perspective and inducing a feeling of reverence and awe in response to the ocean, desert, and mountains that frame the area.
As well as providing an opportunity to connect with the present environment, "Atlantes" also traces a sense of the land’s entropy and various environmental effects over more significant periods of time—through erosion, the inevitable growth of plant life amongst the bricks, and the shifting vista of the beach and dunes nearby.
As Dakin Hart, curator of the Noguchi Museum, said of the project: “Eventually, it will leave the artistic conceit of a sublime, preindustrial minimalism behind: pass gradually from art to archaeology, then to nature, and return dust to dust.”
"Atlantes" by Bosco Sodi at Casa Wabi Mexico / © video by Bosco Sodi
Sodi employs methods of production that retain the essential character of the local elements of earth, water, air, and fire from which the sculptures are created. He begins his sculptures by extracting raw earth, mixing it with water and sand to form clay—an ancient medium. The clay is shaped and smoothed by hand into solid cubes that are left to air dry in the sun at his studio. Once cured, the cubes are fired in a traditional brick kiln with wood, jacaranda seeds, and coconut shells—a process that imbues the cubes with varied terracotta hues, streaks of green and black, and a multitude of fissures in the surface, giving each cube a unique identity.
“We live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning” Baudrillard
"Atlantes" by Bosco Sodi at Casa Wabi Mexico / © video by Bosco Sodi
Bosco Sodi is known for his richly textured, vividly coloured large-scale paintings.
Sodi has discovered an emotive power within the essential crudeness of the materials that he uses to execute his paintings. Focusing on material exploration, the creative gesture, and the spiritual connection between the artist and his work, Sodi seeks to transcend conceptual barriers. Sodi leaves many of his paintings untitled, with the intention of removing any predisposition or connection beyond the work’s immediate existence.
The work itself becomes a memory and a relic symbolic of the artist’s conversation with the raw material that brought the painting into creation. Sodi’s influences range from l’art informel, looking to artists such as Antoni Tàpies and Jean Dubuffet, to master colourists such as Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, and the bright hues of his native heritage.
In 2017, Sodi was the subject of two major museum exhibitions in México City: Por los siglos de los siglos, Museo Nacional de Arte and ELEMENTAL, at Museo Anahuacalli.
The same year, the artist constructed his first public installation, Muro, in Washington Square Park.
In 2019, Rizzoli published Casa Wabi. Sodi has ongoing exhibitions at Blain|Southern, London, and Galería Hilario Galguera, Mexico City.
Notable institutional exhibitions include:
Museum of Stones, The Noguchi Museum, New York (2015); and Pangea, Bronx Museum, New York (2010). His work is in significant public and private collections worldwide including JUMEX Collection, México; Contemporary Art Foundation, Japan; Harvard Art Museum, Massachusetts; Nasher Sculpture Center, Texas; The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C.; Walker Art Center, Minnesota; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Connecticut; New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana; and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, California; The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, Belgium; Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig, Germany and The Scottish National Gallery of Art, Edinburgh, Scotland.
“Atlantes” by Bosco Sodi, Casa Wabi Foundation, Mexico
/ Photo © Courtesy of Sergio López
BOSCO SODI “Atlantes”
Casa Wabi Carretera Federal Salina Cruz - Santiago, México / Pinotepa Nacional Km. 113, 71983 Puerto Escondido, Oax
Blain Southern / 4 Hanover Square, London W1S 1BP
Paul Kasmin Gallery 509 West 27th Street / 293 Tenth Avenue / 515 West 27th Street / 297 Tenth Avenue, Kasmin Sculpture Garden New York USA
Galeria Hilario Galguera Francisco Pimentel 3, San Rafael DF 06470 México