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ÓPERA DE BALCÓN by BRYAN GIUSEPPI RODRIGUEZ CAMBANA at CELL PROJECT SPACE curated by ARIANNA MERCADO [from 20220128 to 20220327]
[Photos: Rob Harris]
Cell Project Space presents Ópera de Balcón, a solo exhibition of work by Peruvian artist Bryan Giuseppi Rodriguez Cambana. As part of the commissioning process, Rodriguez Cambana has worked in residence at the gallery for a period of four months and reopens the exhibition space by responding to sites of migration. Ópera de Balcón is the artist’s most ambitious project to date: all at once a sculpture, theatre set, and performance.
In Ópera de Balcón, two balconies in a dimly lit space sing to each other from across the room. The song, written by Rodriguez Cambana, is a ballad hinged upon complications in romance, timing, and distance. Viewers are invited to decode intimate and covert messages shared between structures to uncover an opera coloured by militarised modes of communication, personal entanglements, and the political framings of migration and diaspora.
This exhibition is a continuation of Rodriguez Cambana’s inquiry into the spectrum of Black and indigenous communities, their formation, and fictions. His practice has strived to complicate notions of ‘community.’ Critiquing imaginaries of purity, Rodriguez Cambana negotiates difference, its contradictions and shifting landscapes
Ópera de Balcón mirrors the physical spaces that act as intimate communicators between communities within the surreal experience of migration, likening it to a mystical-play and performative gesture in which surroundings are in constant transition. The exhibition considers the balcony as a witness, sniper post, and archive, all the while its messaging is subversive and coded as it plays out the theatre of romance.
Through his own lived experience, Rodriguez Cambana reflects on and engages with a (his) community: one that he knows as irrational, contradictory, and poor. Hoping to shatter illusions of equality, Ópera de Balcón brings in the material realities of class, operating through the intersections of the ‘public’ and ‘private’.
A forthcoming tour of the exhibition that will connect audiences with Rodriguez Cambana’s work will be presented by the curator along with a public programme that explores and celebrates coded (love) messages.
Bryan Giuseppi Rodriguez Cambana’s work has been exhibited in galleries, museums and festivals internationally, including the ‘Festival of The New Latin American Cinema Havana’, Cuba (2013); ‘Performeando 2015’ at Queens Museum, NYC; ‘Encuentro XI’, Hemispheric Institute at NYU, D.F, Mexico (2018), and ‘37th Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival’, Kassel, Germany. In 2018 Cambana was a recipient of the ‘Engaging Artists Fellowship’ at More Art, NY, New York and presented ‘Waiting for the Session to Begin’, a Public Artwork, Coney Island, Brooklyn. He is currently the recipient of ‘Goldsmiths ACME Studio Award’. Cambana was selected for ‘Bloomberg’s New Contemporaries 2021’ exhibiting at First Site, Colchester and South London Gallery (2021).
Arianna Mercado is a cultural worker from Manila, the Philippines, currently based in London. In 2018, she co-founded Kiat Kiat Projects, a nomadic curatorial initiative that focuses on alternative exhibition formats. Mercado’s research has focused on informal networks, geopolitical entanglements, and historical materialism in the Global South, previously working on projects with Asia-Art-Activism, London; Calle Wright, Manila, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Mercado was a recipient of the Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Prize for Art Criticism and her writing has been published in Ocula, The Philippine Star, and Ctrl+P Journal of Contemporary Art. In 2021, she co-curated the Pigeon Pavilion with Izzy Waite as part of the Bangkok Biennial, London, where she collaborated with Bryan Giuseppi Rodriguez Cambana.
[Text: Arianna Mercado]
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