ALCHEMISTRY FEATURING KELLY AKASHI, BIANCA BONDI AND ROCHELLE GOLDBERG
24TH APRIL - 30TH SEPT 2019
In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora.
Now I am ready to tell how bodies are changed into different bodies.
Expanding upon SFER IK’s inaugural trilogy, Alignments, Configurations and Conjunctions, which retraced the stages and strata of manifestation and connection, SFER IK’s fourth exhibition, Alchemistry, focuses on the transformation and sublimation characteristic of the alchemical forces underlying the artistic and human process of evolution and creation. Featuring works by Kelly Akashi, Bianca Bondi and Rochelle Goldberg, the exhibition explores the alchemical process by operating synaesthetic shifts, staging dissolving shapes, revealing the infinite potentiality of materials and transposing matter into the mythological sphere.
US-based artist Kelly Akashi’s oeuvre unveils a constant flow of transformation operating as a metaphor for the transition from one physical or evolutionary state to another. In Pincer, lost wax bronze casts of fractions of her hand contained within a pearlescent organic shape made of handblown glass suggest the origination of complex life forms in creatures of the sea. The fingers evoke a sensorial organ of discovery, implying a possible transition from visual to tactile perception. Shells, a tomographic video uncovering an oscillating microcosm dwelling inside the partitions of a sea shell, points to life’s infinite fragmentation and unity at once, while Big Drip, a lost wax cast of a cathedral-like dissolving structure, and Life Form (Moon Mask), a spherical shape reminiscent of an ancient ceremonial recipient, mark the inception of a teleological narrative.
Paris-based South African artist Bianca Bondi’s work explores matter’s potential of transformation through an instinctive alchemical process resulting in the mutation or even dissolution of her creations. Tegeticula Yuccasella, a translucent purple cloak suspended from the ceiling, insinuates shamanic practices favoring elevated states of consciousness, whereas Here, Not Here (Psíquico), a blue neon installation, lit at times and illusive at others, yields the vacillating promise to access the innermost workings of the soul. Meanwhile the delicate crystal network in This is Jupiter in Sagittarius, Healing and Justice continues to grow throughout the course of the exhibition as a living artwork embracing the infinite generative process of nature itself.
Canadian artist Rochelle Goldberg introduces a mythological component into the alchemical research deployed inside of SFER IK’s meandering space through awe-inspiring masks and demiurgical figures made of ceramic that merge the four elements of earth, water, fire and air. Intralocutor, a life-size representation of a female figure, shaped in the classical contraposto and simultaneously evidencing post-modern fragmentation, evokes a multitude of mythological and mystical inspirations, such as the seven Marys or the disembodied force of Kundalini. In Gatekeeper, the expanding concentric circles of the coated aluminum structure supporting the figure’s ceramic head suggest the inscription into multiple spheres, a theme continued in Swarm, a delicate feathered nylon net, outlining the coordinates of a new space-time continuum the viewer is invited to enter.
CONJUCTIONS FEATURING OSKAR METSAVATH, PAULO NAZARETH AND ERNESTO NETO
Francisco Uh May
30TH NOV 2018 - 18TH AUG 2019
After the exploration of invisible spatial coordinates as a gateway into the metaphysical realm in Alignments, followed by a shift to the emanation of earthly creations in Configurations, SFER IK’s third exhibition, Conjunctions, reveals the interrelatedness of human pathways while marking the inauguration of a second exhibition space: SFER IK Francisco Uh May, a 16-meter-high concrete and bejuco dome with a cupola crowned by the Flower of Life. The exhibition features works by Brazilian artists Oskar Metsavaht, Paulo Nazareth and Ernesto Neto which highlight the crossroads of the human journey.
Oskar Metsavaht’s immersive video projection Interfaces II - Man//Cosmos//Forest retraces his inner journey during a ceremony with the Ashaninka tribe. An intricate choreography of geometrical signs is superimposed onto footage from the Amazon rainforest, operating as a passage way between perception and vision. Witnesses of the fundamental union of man and nature, the viewers are invited to reconnect with their innermost selves.
Paulo Nazareth’s oeuvre unfolds into an intricate network of manifold connections. In Conjunctions he explores the link between humans and the elements - earth, water and sky. The performances documented through video and photography stage him as forming part of nature and a foreign body at once, illustrating his quest to reinvest the human presence with a fundamental significance. The interactive installation Sem Titulo: [Rede de Pescador], consisting of three colorful hammocks under a canopy of salt bags, places us beneath an imaginary sea, thus reversing our viewpoint while at the same time pointing to the cycle of life through the continuous movement of water from sea to sky.
Ernesto Neto’s oeuvre explores the elemental structures of the natural and social realms, creating an immersive experience prone to redefining the boundaries between the viewer and the work, the individual and the community, as well as the material and immaterial spheres. Reaching 7 meters high, Every Tree is a Civilizing Entity embraces the visitor in an intricate canopy of delicately woven cotton crochet reaching into the crowns of the trees dwelling inside the exhibition space. On the other side of the dome, the cathedral-like structure of Healing House offers a space for recollection and meditation. The drop shaped sculptures Pray Light and Leaves Life redefine the spaces from which they emanate, whereas Life Blows Life, an ever growing cellular network, is reminiscent of an invisible thread sustaining and guiding the meanders of human existence.