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digital room with brightly coloured and patterned walls

Cayetano Ferrer: Textures of Illusion


Harnessing varieties of residual matter, Ferrer reorganizes it into simple and charming imaginary geometry.

Cayetano Ferrer (b. 1981) is a young, Los Angeles-based artist who has caused a buzz in the art world: his works, which appeal to both serious curators and the passer-by, capture our sensibility and whose monumentality is not eclipsed by their didactic spirit.

Ferrer was brought up in Las Vegas, Nevada, something that linked his personal imagination to a city that is in flux, not in a dynamic way such as that of great business centers, but a fabricated one, reinvented and frequently demolished, but above all to be visited, admired and even spent. In the same logic of spending, both of financial and material resources, Ferrer found in debris a fortunate tool for his later artistic endeavors.

Thus, for example, in his Endless Columns, Ferrer uses a solid column in the center of a room deprived of all exterior light. On the column appear colors and patterns that in some ways are reminiscent of Mayan iconography, but also with the solid ascendancy – without the unnecessary gothic stylization – of art deco. The rhythm is present as an intangible quality of the piece in the formulation of the appearance and disappearances of the reflected columns, almost in an indeterminate manner, on the surface of the mirrors.

The materials with which Endless Columns and other works were built include an ashtray from the MGM casino as well as the remains of construction materials, such as marble, that casts off the sober solidity of ancient statues in the work of Ferrer and is reinvented as a palimpsest of fragments, a text of stones articulated in the form of an untamed totem: an idol that, unlike the gaming machines of Vegas, does not seek to be venerated but rather experienced.

Ferrer in 2015 received the Faena Prize (with a $75,000 purse) for his work Mold Museum, which brings his experimentation with the palimpsest and debris that comprises it to a new level.

art exhibit of vases on bright colour carpets

In principle, it would appear that cinema and architecture have little in common: the silver screen is the illusion (an important concept in Ferrer’s work) of movement, while architecture is the suspension of movement; the conditioning of our accessibility to a space and the way in which we move within it. The projection of different and chaotic ornamental and symbolic motifs with their urban roots transform a room into an imaginary threshold between the within and without: a mobility of a view that does not seek to direct the attention of the tourist through the gaming tables – like the carpets of a casino that Ferrer has used in other works – but rather allowing the freeing up of the logic from tired and repetitive ways of thinking to let in the possibility that all of these visual elements that make up our culture can combine without the need for a continuity or a dialectical synthesis, in the same space, while each conserving its own distinctive visual mark.

If our era can also be seen as an enormous factory of debris, the artisans of the future could learn something from the work of Cayetano Ferrer, in which nothing is wasted. What is true for material and energy could also be true of art: everything can be transformed.

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