Kiria Koula: Gallery & Bookstore

Alejandro Cesarco’s work articulates the significance of storytelling as both a fundamental social ordering structure and as a means of making our experiences intelligible to ourselves. Composed of fragments of texts and images, Cesarco’s films, prints, and photographs function more as personal snapshots than as objective narratives. Instead of offering a linear story-line, his works use repetition, translation, transposition, and appropriation to evoke what he calls “creative infidelities.”

At Kiria Koula, Cesarco presents films and printed works that consider memory as both the object and instrument of our desires. The selected works are based on distinct narrative modes. In the words of the artist, “What I am trying to do through the work is look at some narrative processes and structures, the way they function, how they collapse, and how they leak into forms that surround us. I am interested in the ideological consequences of these stories, how we tell them, and what hold they have in the way we articulate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.”

Included are Musings, 2013, a 16mm film transferred to digital video that retells a series of anecdotes regarding premonitions, fate, dreams, and other types of messages that various authors have used as the sources for their creative work. For this video, the artist compiles stories related to Susan Sontag, Ingmar Bergman, Maurice Blanchot, Italo Calvino, Julio Cortázar, and Agnes Varda. Allegory, or, The Perils of the Present Tense, 2015, Cesarco’s most recent video, is composed of a fragmented text that appears as inter-titles between images of personal and cultural memories. In this film, the artist evokes the past as a way to address desire, and hence as a way of fashioning a future. In Untitled (Blue Frame), 2015, the artist literally frames the first pages of In Praise of Idleness by the philosopher Bertrand Russell and the first pages of The Right To Be Lazy by journalist and critic Paul Lafargue. This work, in a subtle yet very direct way, further complicates the triangulation between influence, inheritance and inspiration set forth by Musings. And lastly, The Dreams I’ve Left Behind, 2015, a light colored silkscreen of an image of the wall where Cesarco’s bed rests, is printed directly onto the gallery wall. Cesarco has referred to this work, as well as to the wall treatment for Allegory, or, The Perils of the Present Tense, as forms of muted melodrama.

On view in the bookstore are three examples from Cesarco’s ongoing Pictures series (2000—), photographs of cut-out texts by critics describing artworks found in magazines and journals.

Alejandro Cesarco (b. 1975 Montevideo, Uruguay) lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include: Prescribe the Symptom, Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, MN (2015), Loyalties and Betrayals, Murray Guy, New York (2015), Secondary Revision, Frac Île-de-France/Le Plateau, Paris (2013), A Portrait, A Story, And An Ending, Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland (2013), Alejandro Cesarco, MuMOK, Vienna (2012). Group exhibitions include: Under The Same Sun, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014), Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel (2013), The Imminence of Poetics, 30th Bienal de São Paulo (2012). In 2011 he was the recipient of the Baloise Art Prize at Art 42 Basel with his installation The Street Were Dark With Something More Than Night Or The Closer I Get To The End The More I Rewrite The Beginning. Cesarco is director of the non-profit arts organization, Art Resources Transfer.