Adriana Lara

Kunsthalle Basel

Lara_1(one)from-Numbers(Disambiguation)_2012Coup_2012-_CMYK.jpg

Adriana Lara, S.S.O.R., 2012, Installation view

Adriana Lara, S.S.O.R., 2012, Installation view

The main strategies in Adriana Lara‘s work involve superimposing and blending different sign systems. In this cryptically titled show, S.S.O.R. (short for Symbolic Surface Of Revolution), Lara distributed both single and loose groups of medium-format, white canvases around the walls of the main space of the Kunsthalle. This work – also called Symbolic Surface of Revolution (2012) – involves a fragmented hanging, held together by a continuing horizontal line of small vertical bars on the canvases. Like a line of dominos, these black printed-shapes seemed to march across the canvases until they started to topple over. A pile of A4 pages was scattered on the floor in the middle of the room (Living Sculpture, 2012); the sheets were covered with text fragments – a cryptic dialogue about planes, cylinders and ambiguities – which were superimposed with graphic symbols, the latter arranged in a way that depicted a face on each piece of paper.

The show‘s title is a pun on the phenomenon of the ‘surface of revolution’. As the press release notes, this mathematical term refers to the surface of revolution that is created in a three-dimensional space when a curve is rotated around a line. With the cylindrical work (1 (One) from Numbers (Disambiguation) (2012), Lara added a sculptural variation, wrapped with a canvas printed with the white and grey chequered pattern – known to Photoshop users as the ‘canvas’, the zero level. Hanging behind this work and taking up most of the wall, the large-scale painting Coup (2012) – with its enlarged vertical bars toppling over – echoed the smaller black bars in the main room. Lara’s exhibition seemed to generate its own domino effect with this repetition. 2012 (2012) – the eponymous number shown on a flat-screen in the last room of the exhibition – added yet another variation, albeit computer-generated, on the already multifarious spread of surface thematics.

The title of the show also plays on the political meaning of revolution. In the Cold War, politicians spoke of the ‘domino effect’ to allude to ideological or revolutionary movements spilling over from one nation to another. In the extensive literature accompanying the show, this layer of meaning is introduced with a reference to the 1968 student riots in the artist’s native Mexico (and their bloody suppression in the Tlatelolco Massacre). It’s left up to the viewer to decide whether or not there’s a connection with recent events such as the Arab Spring. The exhibition reflects the fact that the domino effect – in its linearity – is also considered an inadequate model to predict the dynamic of such complex processes. With her strict formalistic presentation, the artist demonstrates how to build up allusively the viewer’s expectations about art, politics and each system’s symbolism. Signs appear as both empty forms and carriers of meaning, linked with one another by – what else? – surface.
Translated by Dominic Eichler

Issue 7

First published in Issue 7

Winter 2012

Most Read

Tate Modern, London
London’s fourth plinth artists announced; a new fund to protect cultural heritage in war-torn areas
Annika Eriksson, The Social, 2017, wallpaper and objects on a shelf, 500 x 450 cm. Courtesy: The artist and Moderna Museet, Malmö
 
Moderna Museet, Malmö, Sweden
Paul Scheerbart, Nusi-Pusi, 1912. Courtesy: Berlinische Galerie/Kai-Annett Becker
From a short history of plagiarism to Trisha Brown's walk: what to read this weekend
Q. What is art for? A. To tell us where we are.
The work of filmmaker James N. Kienitz Wilkins on the occasion of his inclusion in the 2017 Whitney Biennial film...
Trisha Brown has died, aged 80; two new appointments at London’s ICA; controversy at the Whitney
A round-up of the best shows to see in the city ahead of this week’s Art Basel Hong Kong
How should the artistic community respond when an art space, explicitly or implicitly, associates itself with right-...
Charlie Fox on a new translation of Hervé Guibert's chronicle of love, lust and drug-addled longing
Three highlights from the New York festival promoting emerging filmmakers
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
A report and the highlights from a show themed around fluidity, flux, botany and the subterranean
From growing protests over the gentrification of Boyle Heights to Schimmel leaving Hauser & Wirth, the latest from...
kurimanzutto, Mexico City, Mexico
Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, Switzerland
The body is a troubled thing ...
Sir Howard Hodgkin dies aged 84; finalists for Berlin’s Preis der Nationalgalerie 2017 announced

From the Women's Strike to a march that cancels itself out: what to read this weekend
The most interesting works in the IFFR’s Short Film section all grappled with questions of truth, honesty and...
With the reissue of their eponymous debut album, revisiting the career of legendary Berlin art project / punk band Die...
Galeria Jaqueline Martins, São Paulo, Brazil 

Tramway, Glasgow, UK
A work by self-taught artist Martín Ramírez
Munich’s Haus der Kunst embroiled in Scientology scandal; Martín Ramírez to inaugurate the new ICA LA
If politics today obsesses over the policing of borders, art in France is enacting multiple crossings
A new video installation from Richard Mosse investigates the refugee crisis
Gustav Metzger has died aged 90; director of the Met resigns
What draws us to certain stories, and why do we retell them? 
It’s time that the extraordinary life and work of Anya Berger was acknowledged

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

Nov - Dec 2016

frieze magazine

Jan - Feb 2017

frieze magazine

March 2017