Quintessa Matranga

Everyday War @ ASHES/ASHES, Nov 11 – Dec 17

9 November 2016

The Everyday War group exhibition is on at Los Angeles’ ASHES/ASHES is, opening November 11 and running to December 17.

Curated by Keith J. Varadi, the show features work by Scott Benzel, Steve Kado, Jenine Marsh, Quintessa Matranga, Erin Jane Nelson and Naoki Sutter-Shudo.

The press release reveals little on what’s to expect, however, it includes a text musing on the state of the new millennials and contemporary Los Angeles:

“…a self-motivated (or self-driven) sign to give up on nostalgia. Fact: There is no crying in stadiums. Also, there is no crying in the South, either. You read a blank billboard built on the False Word of God and you want to cry, but in this light, all you can do is squint. You stare at a statue carved by the sweaty hands of a half-assed apologist and you want to cry, but in this heat, all you can do is sweat. People getting fired; people getting fired up.”

Seeb the ASHES/ASHES website for details.**

Jenine Marsh, 'The Extrovert', (2016). Installation view. Courtesy the artist + Cooper Cole Gallery, Toronto.
Jenine Marsh, ‘The Extrovert’, (2016). Installation view. Courtesy the artist + Cooper Cole Gallery, Toronto.
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False Walls @ Pet Projects, Nov 6 – 20

8 November 2016

The False Walls group exhibition at Perth’s Pet Projects is opening November 6 and running to November 20.

The show features work by Liam Colgan, Tanya Lee, Quintessa Matranga and Kimmo Modig to explore social convention and collaboration from a distance through a lens of boundary, defence mechanism and personal space. During the de-install of the show there will be a text released by co-creator of Pet Projects, Andrew Varano.

Pet Projects is run by Dan Bourke, Gemma Weston and Varano and is located in an industrial area outside of the Western Australian capital’s city centre, regulating a series of events and happenings.

See the Pet Projects website for details.**

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Il Futuro era bellissimo per noi @ Cité Internationale des Arts reviewed

13 May 2016

The Il Futuro era bellissimo per noi group exhibition features 13 artists and takes its title from lyrics of an Italian pop song. It’s called Odio le favole by  Ermal Meta, and follows themes of dramatic love in a temporal paradox; a logical contradiction in the sentence, “The future was very beautiful for us”. Pop music references are a constant in the program and approach of Bari-based “project staircase” 63rd-77th STEPS. Run by Italian artist and curator Fabio Santacroce, its website carries on this tradition with this most recent off-site exhibition, running April 14 to 30, in an online press release entrusted with the heart-breaking words of another famous song by Gianna Nannini feat. Don Backy, L’immensità (‘immensity’ in English). Said track plays over the desolate webpage background of a tiled gif of blacks birds taking flight in a wintry-white sky.

While Santacroce’s 63rd-77th STEPS project was born from the in-between-space of the top steps of a multi-floor building in Bari its named after, Il Futuro era bellissimo per noi, too, explores ideas of landings and gaps. During her  residency  at  Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, young French artist Anna Solal invited Santacroce to fill the space of her temporary n°8003 first-floor studio apartment with works by themselves, and other artists including Mariantonietta Bagliato, Mathis Collins, Cédric FarguesAnna FranceschiniFrieder Haller, Kareem Lotfy, Emanuele MarcuccioQuintessa MatrangaJosip NovoselIlya Smirnov and Sean Townley.

Il Futuro Era Bellissimo Per Noi (2016). Exhibition view. Photo by Quentin Dubret. Courtesy 63rd-77th STEPS, Bari.
Il Futuro Era Bellissimo Per Noi (2016). Exhibition view. Photo by Quentin Dubret. Courtesy 63rd-77th STEPS, Bari.

Questions of temporality settle at once with the outside project, ‘Lambrequin’ (2016) of Mathis Collins that sinks, drips and dries on the facade of the studio. After swathing a big red sheet on the front door as a kind of tent, the artist himself sits outside during its installation, collecting his liquid consumables —drinks, beers, wines, coffees —and pouring their sweet, acid, sticky contents on the canopy. Taken down and hung up again inside the studio, the fabric wears the stigma of its production time. On the floor, some ‘archeological’ objects remind us that the present is permanently in flight, suspended between past and future. Solal’s ‘Kites’ —part shields and part children’s toys —mix fabrics, decal stickers, bicycle chains and the screen of a smashed-up iPad screen. Close by, Santacroce’s installation quotes the exhibition’s title and confronts tradition and modernity, between the French clichés printed on canvas and customised car side window sunshades.

Everything in Il Futuro era bellissimo per noi is about mythologies: those that explain our past and those that will shape the world of tomorrow. This meeting of the antiquated and the modern comes in works like Anna Franceschini’s film, ‘Before they break, before they die, they fly!’ playing on loop and showing us some small tourist souvenirs from Rome, like the Colosseum, a helmet, Saint Cecilia’s statue, almost made sacred suspended above a magnetic levitation pad. But this is also the ambivalence of the myth that is at stake in the floor piece by Sean Townley. His small sculpture ‘Intrinsic Apoptotic Pathways’ (2013) is a cast made from a kapala skullcup. According to legend when a Tantra Buddhist or Hindu monk dies, the upper part of the skull is cut and then decorated with gems and precious metals. These often serve then as containers, such as cups or memento mori.

Then there are the idols and their offerings. A customized half-unpacked present by Quintessa Matranga. A foam vital organ suspended —a kind of large human heart —by Mariantonieta Bagliato. A ham biscuit totem cut into the shape of a hand on the sink by Cédric Fargues. Emanuele Marcuccio participates in the chorus of voices composing the show through one of his recurring cold and metallic sheets, its geometric cuts shaped into abstract faces and stick figures. Here, his ‘I wanted something calm’ work welcomes the visitor, acting as a sort of metal front door or, inversely, blocking access to that implosive environment that constitutes the whole exhibition, overseeing this place of temporary work, in a space already awaiting another tenant.

On his side, Frieder Haller articulates a concrete, treacherous path along the existing staircase inside the space, creating additional steps and level in small wood and concrete constructions that complicate its climbs and descents within the existing practical ones. This conflict, also enunciated in the title, is everywhere. It is temporal first but also spatial, as behind a half-closed door an audio track by Kareem Lotfy called ‘French connection environment is hidden at the centre of an abandoned mess in the kitchen.

The transitional space, the architecture itself, the works and its installation; its temporal value, its multiple references, its fragile sustainability. Like the discreet drawing by Ilya Smirnov, ‘No Title Provided’, placed above the radiator, or the small consumed candles on canvases by Josip Nosovel in the corner, Il Futuro era bellissimo per noi triggers a short-circuit mixing low and high culture, dominant  historical narratives and esoterica, pop culture and cheap technology—temporalities, language, tone —in a moment that is both sentimental in mood and very dark in humour.**

Exhibition photos, top right.

The Il Futuro era bellissimo per noi group exhibition was on at Paris’ Cité Internationale des Arts, running April 14 to 30, 2016.

Header image: Kareem Lotfy, ‘Fr€nch Connection’ (2016). Install view. Photo by Quentin Dubret. Courtesy 63rd-77th STEPS, Bari.

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Comic Relief @ Levy Delval (2015) exhibition photos

4 January 2016

The Comic Relief group exhibition was on at Brussels’ Levy Delval, running June 4 to July 4, 2015. Each artist, Nel Aerts, Bending Binding, Liz Craft, Rafael Delacruz, Emily Mae Smith, and Benny Van den Meulengracht-Vrancx among them, contributed at least one item to the space, which was filled mostly with objects and drawings.

The accompanying text, written by New York-based artist and contributor, Quintessa Matranga presents itself like the artworks in the show do when scrolling through the documentation photographs on Levy Delval’s website. They are connected and have relationships to the former and the follower but are also self-contained, and determined imagination-fragments, a bit like when you’re slightly tipsy and your senses are seriously focussed.

Nel Aerts, 'So long, farewell...' (2013) Install view. Courtesy Levy. Delval, Brussels.
Nel Aerts, ‘So long, farewell…’ (2013) Install view. Courtesy Levy. Delval, Brussels.

is what
I do
for fun”

is one small text block. Another phrase, “Anonymous actor” is repeated, and so is the word “messy” in another itemised thought. The works have a kind of perfection to their curious existence that is difficult and also unnecessary to interpret. ‘Condom filled with spaghetti’ (2015), an “open edition” by Puppies Puppies ends up with really elegant swirls as though it’s a decorative surface pattern on the outside of something solid all the way through. Benny Van den Meulengracht-Vrancx’s piece, ‘Personal Footprint’ (2015) made by arranging his two shoe insoles comes to look like a pair of feet with attitude, or a bird, or a dull butterfly pinned inside a white display box. Left faces right and right faces left.

Some of the items and pictures might have feelings towards each other, for example, arranged is Mantranga’s old white baby’s trainer with a fake big blue eye inserted into its side (‘Parasite 1’), an inkjet drawing and text on the wall above by Rafael Delacruz titled ‘Demonic and Unimaginable Imagination’ and ‘Kooling System (Deeply thinking)’ by Bending Binding. The latter is a tangle of green and blue laces -the tangy, sweet variety -held together by resin and attached to the wall as though supporting something behind it through a straw.

Another Puppies Puppies work is a lemon pie on the floor next to a blue poncho and yellow towel lined up, ready for the pie. Ken Kagami has installed a plastic ‘Tissue’ on a canvas plinth. You imagine tears sliding off the plastic. This is not yet another plastic sculpture, it’s to do with the tears. **

Exhibition photos, top right.

Comic Relief was on at Brussels’ LEVY.DELVAL from June 4 to July 4, 2015.

Header image: Ken Kagami, ‘Ellsworth Kelly’s Underpants’ (2015) Install view. Courtesy Levy. Delval, Brussels.

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Belated Soul @ Pretty Days, Nov 10

9 November 2015

The Belated Soul group exhibition is showing at the “cellar/basement entrance” of New York’s 1100 Broadway on November 10.

Curated by Quintessa Matranga as part of the Pretty Days exhibition series running in various venues and utilizing a “rectangular grow tent as its primary platform”.

The artists participating in the first of this project include sometimes London-based artist, poet and Version House founder Harry Burke “b2b” with Sophia Le FragaKayla GuthrieAlison Veit, and William Hawkins.

See the Pretty Days website for details.**

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Check XXe (2015) @ After Howl exhibition photos

1 July 2015

Paris-based curatorial programme and exhibition space Exo launched another great exhibition this spring, curating the Check XXe group show at Brussels’s After Howl. Run by curator Elisa Rigoulet and artist Antoine Donzeaud, the curatorial programme invited seven international artists to take part, (with Donzeaud contributing some of his own work as well) for a show that explored the notion and linguistic complexity of ‘checks’—checks-and-balances, checks done to embarrass the parties involved, checks that subtly bring attention that there are people around you trying to mate, checks as agreement, checks as obesity, etc.

Bending Binding, ‘Kooling Systems (Whirlwind)’ (2015) Install view. Courtesy After Howl, Bruxelles.
Bending Binding, ‘Kooling Systems (Whirlwind)’ (2015). Installation view. Courtesy After Howl.

Paris’s Matthieu Haberard brings five new pieces—with a dark wood, epoxy, acrylic painting titled ‘Screen, where the touch, is a real sensation’ (2015), a can-and-water sculpture called ‘Combine painting’ (2015), a wood-and-electric cable piece called ‘Your time is running out’ (2015), as well as two sculptural installations made of steel, plexiglas, acrylic on canvas, titled ‘Marcel; Where the bulbs are?’ (2015) and ‘Stéphane; They took our…’ (2015)—while San Francisco’s Quintessa Matranga‘s shows a series of new cartoonish inkjet paper prints mounted on wood.

Some of the other artists include: Houston’s Adam Cruces with two digital video loops; Bending Binding with two sculptural radiators, a plastic-candy-and cooling liquid scultpure, and a neon light, as well as Belgium-born and Antwerp-based artist Yannick Val Gesto with a series of digital collages using 3D render semi-transparent print on brushed aluminium. Antone Konst and Hubert Marot round out the exhibition lineup with, respectively, a series of ceramic tile-on-panel large-scale oil and nail polish drawings and a cyanotype, spray paint, gallic acid on canvas piece. The last artist is Donzeaud himself with a large-scale silksreen print and aerosol paint on tarp and wood work titled ‘Ordinary Objects for Common Use (Couch)’. **

Exhibition photos, top right.

The Check XXe group exhibition ran at After Howl in Brussels from April 25 to May 9.

Header: Check XXe, installation view. Courtesy After Howl, Bruxelles.

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