An exhibition by the Mexico-based Cuban-American artist Jorge Pardo comprising paintings and large-scale chandeliers. The installation is conceived by the artist to explore light’s potential as a means of shaping our experience of architecture, while creating an immersive visual spectacle during winter’s darkest months.
Celebrated for his use of vibrant colours, eclectic patterns, natural and industrial materials, and craftsmanship and computer-aided production, Pardo, a MacArthur Fellowship recipient, has since the 1990s questioned distinctions between fine art, architecture and design. Characterised by its fluidity between genres, his diverse work ranges from sculptures and murals to home furnishings and even entire buildings and public spaces.
The exhibition will feature seven unique chandeliers, ranging in scale from 1 to 1.7 metres tall, suspended at various heights throughout the first-floor gallery of Wharf Road. While distinct in terms of their materials, colour and texture, the chandeliers share certain natural forms – including those derived from the gallery’s canalside garden and the verdant jungle landscape of Mérida, Mexico, where the artist lives and works. In addition, new paintings made of layers of laser-cut birch wood and MDF, perforated and painted to give an indication of landscapes partially veiled by moiré-like interference patterns, will be displayed in the ground-floor gallery.
Leading the viewer through the space, the works offer an extended consideration of physicality and immateriality, the visible and invisible. While the chandeliers themselves possess sculptural form as objects, demanding a physical encounter, the light they emit, variously controlled and directed, is less tangible, experienced in the spaces between each work and the surrounding architecture, set aglow and appearing to change throughout the day according to ambient light conditions. Similarly, the paintings are installed to optimise a sense of light passing through them and the play of shadows on the gallery walls. The gallery itself – its walls, floors and ceilings – becomes part of an overall composition, a space shaped by the artist to play with expectations and offer a shifting meditation on form, function, texture and colour.
Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1963, Jorge Pardo relocated to Chicago, USA, with his family as a child. He studied at the University of Illinois, Chicago and received his BFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Pardo’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at international institutional venues including Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2010); K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2009); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2008); and Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (2007). He has been included in numerous significant group exhibitions including Display – between art and arts & crafts, Applied Arts Pavillion, the 57th Biennale di Venezia (2017); Okoyama Art Summit (2016), Viehof Collection: International Contemporary Art, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2016); You’ve Got to Know the Rules … to Break Them, de la Cruz Collection, Miami (2015); Beyond the Supersquare, The Bronx Museum of Arts, New York, US (2014); KölnSkulptur #7, Skulpturenpark Köln, Cologne (2013); Print/Out, MoMA Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012); Art of Communication: Anri Sala, Yang Ah Ham, Philippe Parreno, Jorge Pardo, National Museum of Art, Deoksugung (2011); The Jewel Thief, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, (2010); theanyspacewhatever, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2008); Index. Conceptualism in California from the Permanent Collection, The Geffen Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2008); Birth of the Cool. California Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, US and tour (2007); Works from the Tate Collection, Tate Modern, London (2006). In 1996, along with artists including Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe and Rirkrit Tiravanija, Pardo was featured in Nicolas Bourriaud’s exhibition Traffic at CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux, in the catalogue for which Bourriaud coined the term ‘Relational Aesthetics’.
Permanent works and public projects include Streetcar Stop for Portland, Regional Arts and Culture Council, Portland (2014); Plat 99, Bar and Lounge designed for The Alexander Hotel, Indianapolis, (2013); Tecoh, private residence, Yucatán (2012); Untitled (reinstallation of the Latin American Galleries), LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, US (2008); Untitled (Guadalajara Light Piece), Solares Foundation, Guadalajara (2005); House for Cesar and Mimi Reyes, Old San Juan (2004); Project, a reimagining of the lobby and new bookshop for Dia Art Foundation Chelsea, New York, US (2000); 4166 Sea View Lane, a proposal as part of an exhibition for LA MoCA to build an artist’s house on a hillside in Mount Washington, Los Angeles, for which Pardo designed every element of the building (completed 1998).
Pardo’s work is part of numerous public collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Tate, UK. He has been the recipient of many awards including the MacArthur Fellowship Award (2010); the Smithsonian American Art Museum Lucelia Artist Award (2001); the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (1995).
Jorge Pardo lives and works in Mérida, Mexico.