upend the air

upend the air is a far-reaching group exhibition featuring KP Brehmer, Gareth Long, Mario Navarro, Daniel Aguilar Ruvalcaba, Jimena Sarno, and Brian Zimmerman exploring states of suspension, exception, solidity, and escape.

From the colloquial epithet everything is up in the air to Marx and Engel's well-circulated phrase all that is solid melts into air we imagine that if the ground is synonymous with stability, then a state of suspension is its inverse. As capital apparently dematerializes us all, how do we locate lines of flight? As instability is made inevitable, is air a force that frames us? And, if we find this state unsatisfactory, can we upend the air, amend it, or bend it towards other forms?

From Brehmer’s foundational “Capitalist Realism” critiques to Ruvalcaba’s lyrical mediations on the dematerialization of the art object alongside the rise of neoliberalism’s just-in-time precarity, the persistent weightlessness of the present is on view. Mario Navarro’s chrome and concrete works hover between the solidity of the architectural ruin and near-violent suspension of stone middair. Likewise, Jimena Sarno’s recreation of Trotsky’s chicken coop while in exile carries an uneasy solidity of history as it hangs overhead.

Zimmerman’s torso-less figure holds up the all-too-common clearance chatter that ‘everything must go’ though it is all already on its way out. Finally, Gareth Long’s textile curtain and accompanying graphite drawing draws on Homer’s lost comedy of Magrites to ask whether despite increased access to information and widespread knowledge, stupidity is here celebrated as a virtue, a generative means of production, and an alternative model of thought.

About the artists

KP Brehmer (1938–97) found new ways to visualise global capitalism which are of increasing relevance today. Most notably, Brehmer is associated as a founder of Capitalist Realism along with artists including Konrad Lueg, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter in the mid-1960’s. Brehmer is the subject of numerous retrospectives and notable exhibitions include documenta 5, Museum of Modern Art, ICA London, Centre Pompidou, and the 55th Venice Biennale, among many others.

Gareth Long lives and works in London and Toronto. He holds a holds a BA in Visual Studies and Classical Civilizations from the University of Toronto and an MFA from Yale University. Long's work tends toward conceptual gestures that play with formal ideas of translation, narrative and medium specificity. Long has made projects that turn video into material objects, transformed an audio book back into its original source using speech recognition software, and made sculptural objects from items that have only ever existed in fictions. Long’s work has been exhibited extensively internationally at venues such as MoMA PS1, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, The Power Plant, Artists Space, WIELS Contemporary Art Center, and many more. His work has been reviewed in publications such as Artforum, The New York Times, Mousse Magazine, Rhizome, and Art and the Public Sphere, among others.

Mario Navarro lives and works in New York. His recent projects have been showcased internationally, including "Aesthetical Irregularities" at Komagome Soko in Tokyo, Japan; "Reconstrucción," curated by Abraham Cruzvillegas at Museo de Arte Zapopan, Guadalajara, Mexico; and "Mi Casa, Tu Casa" at Johannes Vogt Gallery, New York. He is represented by Proyecto Paralelo gallery in Mexico City and has been awarded the Pioneer Works Residency Program for spring 2017. His work is part of important collections such as the Petitgas Collection, London; the Collection of Frances R. Dittmer, Chicago; the Sayago & Pardon Collection, Los Angeles; ArtNexus in Bogotá, Colombia; Diéresis Collection, Guadalajara and Fundación Colección Jumex, Mexico City.

Daniel Aguilar Ruvalcaba is a producer of images. He currently lives and works in Mexico City, where he studied in the Educational Program of SOMA and is founder and active member of Biquini Wax EPS. Ruvalcaba’s enigmatic works articulate a fragmentary and undisciplined narrative of neoliberalism, merging the state's "deregulation" of markets and the "dematerialization of art" in conceptual and minimalist practices to explorations of contemporary finance, debt, appropriation and expropriation. He has also collaborated with magazines such as The Tempest, Horizontal, and The Critic Blog and has exhibited in kurimanzutto, Parallel Oaxaca, Gallery Thief, the University Museum of Chopo, the Museum of Modern Art, and Carrillo Gil Art Museum, among others.

Jimena Sarno is a multidisciplinary artist and organizer. She works across a range of media including installation, sound, video, text and sculpture. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and currently living in Los Angeles, her experience as a South American immigrant informs her practice. Her work has been exhibited at LACE, The Mistake Room, Human Resources, PØST, UCI Contemporary Art Center, Control Room, Fellows of Contemporary Art and Grand Central Art Center among others. She is the recipient of the 2015 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists.

She is the organizer of analog dissident, a monthly discussion gathering that features work and work-in-progress by two invited artists. As an informal, open studio visit, analog dissident encourages intersectional approaches and is aimed at radical/immigrant/queer artists and thinkers to engage critically outside of traditional art institutions, school, gallery openings and most importantly, outside of social media; and resident alien, a free, short-term, project specific, need-based residency, for local and visiting underrepresented artists.

Brian Zimmerman is an artist, teacher and custom fabricator currently based in St. Louis, Missouri. He holds his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA from the University of California - San Diego and is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Webster University. His work has been shown in museums, galleries and through public art installations in the US and internationally, including exhibitions at the San Diego Museum of Art, Paragraph Gallery, Stern Studios, Vienna, and others.

The Luminary's exhibitions are supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Regional Arts Commission, the Missouri Arts Council and our members.