Thu 2 April – Sat 16 May, 2009. Barcelona
NoguerasBlanchard is pleased to announce the third solo gallery show by Ester Partegàs (La Garriga, 1972). In relation to her previous site-specific projects where she explores the implacable presence of consumerism in public spaces and how its excess shapes our daily environment, for this exhibition Partegàs recreates an urban landscape inside the gallery space with a multidisciplinary work: video-installation, sculpture and drawing.
Rebava (Ooze), the work that gives the exhibition its title, is an installation consisting of panels of brightly coloured plexiglass, handpainted with a dramatically-scaled wire fence entangled in shrubbery. Inside the installation, a static shot shows a close-up of dead branches covered in debris – a tin can, scraps of paper, waste products found in any contemporary city – the only movement, a twig blowing in the wind. An imagery of residues that parasitize the urban lansdcape, garbage mixed with weeds, the sense of abandonment further accentuated by nature, shows a desolate scene and points to Partegas identification of the conventional setting of the city as the natural territory of nightmares. The artist invites us to enter a paradoxical world that suggests the possibility of both inevitable apocalypse and a continuous present – doomsday everyday. Erected in the middle of the space, Rebava is aggressively positioned like a barricade, alluding to our vulnerability in the face of what Partegàs refers to as “the ooze of civilization”: excess of refuse produced by our culture, visible in big cities and consumer spaces. According to Partegàs, although “ooze” is inherent to mankind and forms part of his vital process, it’s still considered something obscene. “I could say that I work with “scenographies of the civilized” and share with Lacan the statement that “civilization is the spoils: the cloaca maxima”.
The video work Ghost, (2009) shows a pile of industrial waste lying next to a puddle of water, in which a billboard is reflected advertising an I-Pod. The advertisment changes colour, a dove takes flight. Despite its desolation, a certain beauty emanates from the sinister. Partegàs addresses the theme of publicity as generator of empty necessities and how it forms the landscapes that surround us in public squares, airports, urban areas, shopping centres, speaking of our most intimate collective desires and fears. Eclipse (2009), a small sculpture of a shrub covered in debris, seems to grow out of the gallery floor. Like an object of tragedy, it is eclipsed by something which invades it, while the image it projects of decadence, desolation and abandonment serves as metaphor for the “overrated civilization” explored by the artist.
Rebava is Ester Partegàs third solo exhibition in the gallery. After studying Fine Arts in the University of Barcelona and in the Hochschule der Künste Berlin, Partegàs moves to Brooklyn. Her solo exhibitions include: The Invisible, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Connecticut (2008); Invasores, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2007); Centre d´Art Santa Mónica, Barcelona (2003) and group shows: Zonas de Riesgo, Caixaforum, Madrid/Barcelona (2009), Compass in Hand, Museum of Modern Art, Nueva York (2009); Order. Desire. Light, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2008); Levantamiento, Libertad y Ciudadanía, Centro de Arte 2 de Mayo, Móstoles (2008); Make It Now, Sculpture Center, Long Island City, Nueva York (2005); Outer City/ Inner Space, Whitney Museum of American Art, Nueva York (2002). She has recently participated in the Moscow Biennial (2007), the I Bienal de Arquitectura Arte y Paisaje de Canarias (2006) and the Busan Biennial (2006). Her monographic catalogues include Calories: Units of Energy, 1998-2005 (2006) and Invasores (2008).