English artist Roger Hiorns, winner of the 2016 Faena Prize for the Arts, launched his provocative solo exhibition, En el Umbral (Thresholding), last month at Faena Art Center Buenos Aires.
In keeping with Faena Arts’ mission to present contemporary works of art that explore the infinite links among art, technology, design and time, Hiorns’ site-sensitive artwork was both temporary and temporal, performative and sculptural, architectonic as well as entirely of the landscape.
En el Umbralexplored the history and context of Buenos Aires and the neighborhood of Puerto Madero, reclaiming and reusing abandoned elements of the industrial, mechanized world to create a new framework for seeing artifacts from our social and historical narratives and redefining our relationship to them.
In the exhibition, a naked man stands upon a Ford V8 engine that hangs from chains tied to the art center’s roof. The artwork blurs the precise limit where man ends and object begins, while also putting in stark relief the innocence and potential perversion of the youthful body as it confronts the man-made elements of a post-industrial society. Outside, on a stretch of undeveloped land, a nude man sits on aircraft turbines, a reference to the military relationship between Argentina and the United Kingdom.
Pablo León de la Barra, curator of Latin American art at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, who collaborated with Hiorns on the exhibition, points out that the artist invites us to think about how we relate to the elements of our environment in a hyper-technological and hyper-militarized era.
I think it is important for an artist to be able to act in a new way instead of always considering the traditional rules of sculpture, performance or painting; perhaps the artist can invent or influence the possibility of a new behavior