Julieta Aranda, the Mexican conceptual artist, has had a celebrated career by producing work that challenges the assumptions and structures of the very cultural landscape she inhabits.
Her work spans several media including sculpture, installation, video, and print. Much of her work takes up the concept of time, sometimes to consider alternative notions of the temporal experience, and other times to approach the arbitrariness of time and freedom from time. She currently lives and works between Berlin and New York.
Aranda’s projects, which often examine social interactions and the role that the circulation of objects plays in the cycles of cultural production and consumption, are intensely site-specific. Her complex installations involve placing various objects of different media in relation to each other to demonstrate and critique elusive concepts such as time, circulation, and imagination.
In this vein, Swimming in Rivers of Glue (an exercise in counterintuitive empathy), her installation currently on view at the James Fuentes Gallery in New York, looks at the mechanisms of hostile / defensive architecture, and the effects its deployment has in the constitution and use of public space.
From a visual perspective, Swimming in Rivers of Glue is a characteristicly complex, site-specific installation. A large video projection presents a cascade of images and text on an entire wall of the gallery. On the wall opposite the video, are framed spider webs. In the gallery's interior space there is a large sculptural spider web strung between the wall and a beam in the room's center and small groups of geometric sculptures. Additional wallspace is taken by bookshelves containing one or two books propped between shards of broken glass. Bags of water, some containing coins are suspended from the ceiling. On the gallery's final wall is a crossword puzzle with terms that include: “ideational,” “transported,” binding,” “empty,” and “spacetime.”
Julieta Aranda was born in 1975 in Mexico City. She received a BFA in filmmaking from the School of Visual Arts (2001) and an MFA from Columbia University (2006), both in New York. As a co-director of the online platform e-flux since 2003 (together with Anton Vidokle), she has developed the projects Time/Bank, Pawnshop, and e-flux video rental, all of which started in the e-flux storefront in New York, and have traveled to many venues worldwide.
Aranda's other work has also been exhibited internationally, in venues such as the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), Guggenheim Museum (2015, 2009), Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (2015), 8th Berlin Biennale (2014), Berardo Museum, Lisbon (2014), Witte de With (2013 and 2010), Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, Genova (2013), MACRO Roma (2012) Documenta 13 (2012), N.B.K. (2012), Gwangju Biennial (2012), 54th Venice Biennial (2011), Istanbul Biennial (2011), Portikus, Frankfurt (2011), New Museum NY (2010), Kunstverein Arnsberg (2010), MOCA Miami (2009), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2007), 2nd Moscow Biennial (2007) MUSAC, Spain (2010 and 2006), and VII Havanna Biennial; and many others.
Julieta Arenda’s Swimming in Rivers of Glue (an exercise in counterintuitive empathy) is on view as follows:
Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of James Fuentes and the Artist