GAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Bergamo presents the first solo exhibition of the American artist Aaron Curryin an European institution, composed entirely of works created specifically for the occasion.
The work of Aaron Curry (1972, San Antonio, Texas. Lives and works in Los Angeles) explores art history in the last century and the contemporary visual landscape through an intermingling of styles, forms and images that blend past and present, avant-garde and mass culture. His is a language that uses the mechanism of citation in an almost paradoxical manner: his works develop a style that is extremely personal and recognizable, despite the fact that the artist makes an explicit formal reference to a long series of milestones in twentieth century art history. Aaron Curry seems to trace a history of human figuration for which Cubism and Surrealism are pivotal, but contaminates the reference to this tradition with a complex series of allusions to phenomena such as graffiti art, American folklore, sci-fi imagery and craftsmanship.
Whereas Picasso – and the modernist avant-garde more generally – had studied primitive art and taken it up within the renewal of sculpture and painting, Curry amplifies this mechanism of appropriation and expands it to the world of electronic images, to the graphic computer and the cult of mass media or celebrities. In this way his works appear to be mysterious totemic presences that seem to reveal our present almost as if they were relics of a cult in limbo between past and future.
As for many artists of his generation, the collage is Curry’s primary instrument in the construction of the work, and is understood here not only as a simple technique, but above all as a conceptual operation lying at the origin of the synthesis of images. Aaron Curry’s sculptures are, in fact, realized using assemblage and the intersection of planes with sinuous forms often made of painted wood or aluminum, to which the artist applies serigraphy, color and spray paint. Curry sets into motion a continuous oscillation between the two-dimensional image and the language of sculpture, causing the memory of artists such as Alexander Calder, Isamu Noguchi and Henry Moore to converge in a broader reflection about both abstraction and the pop image.
For Curry sculpture is always an installative practice: his works are mostly presented in groups and placed in a dialogue with sculptures with simple volumes sometimes leaned against the wall, and along hung works in which the principal of overlapping and the fusion of images borrowed from the mass media, spots of color and biomorphic forms returns.
The motif of the accumulation of images and visual information characterizes Aaron Curry’s work as deeply rooted in Los Angeles’s artistic tradition, particularly if we think of artists such as Hawkins, Kelley, Baldessari, Jackson, McCarthy and Rhoades. In their diversity, they have contributed to identifying California art as an art that is hypertrophic and overexcited. And yet, this aspect of contemporary visual culture, tied to the frenzy of the flow and consumption of images, assumes a more meditative and composite aspect in Curry, as if the artistic and perceptive experience of Los Angeles (the city where he was educated and that he has adopted as his own) were permeated by a deeper reconsideration not only of the European avant-garde but also by the image of the landscape of the American and Texan frontier with their boundless horizons and the respite of its natural forms.
The exhibition will travel to the Kestnergesellschaft of Hanover, from March 5th to May 24th, 2010.
The catalogue will contain illustrations of all the works on display and represents the first monograph devoted to the artist. It will feature texts by Aaron Curry, Veit Goerner, Bruce Hainley, Richard Hawkins and Alessandro Rabottini, and will be available in January 2010.
Curated by: Alessandro Rabottini
Opening: September 30 2009, 6:30 pm
We are especially grateful to Michael Werner Gallery, Cologne / New York; David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles; and Daniel Buchholz Gallery, Cologne / Berlin.
We would also like to thank Club GAMeC for its support in publishing this catalogue.