Adrián Villar Rojas on the roof of the MET
The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art has invited young Argentinean artist Adrián Villar Rojas (1980, Rosario, Argentina) to create a new site-specific commission for its famous terrace overlooking Central Park.
Used to monumental sculptures and installations, whether indoors or outdoors, Adrián Villar Rojas has transformed the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden with The Theater of Disappearance.
The MET exhibition is the first part of a four-part, much wider art project with the same title — The Theater of Disappearance — which takes place in four cities over Europe and the United States: New York, USA (Metropolitan Museum of Art, from April 14th to October 29th, 2017), Bregenz, Austria (Kunsthaus Bregenz, from May 13th to August 27th, 2017), Athens, Greece (NEON, from June 1st to September 24th, 2017) and Los Angeles, USA (Geffen Contemporary, MOCA, from October 22nd to February 26th, 2018). This is not a touring exhibition since each time a new site-specific work is being created. The desire to find a title that encompasses the four exhibition projects illustrates the artist’s intention to be more explicit about his relationship with his artistic interventions. This connection unveils in his modus operandi rather than in his formal questions. Villar Rojas’s creation process always starts with a research phase during which he and his team take over the exhibition site over a period of several months and live together with and in the space, as “parasites” would*. This allows him to better know the institution, its energies, how it operates, and the people who work there. This reading of the space, both as an “outsider” and an “insider”, allows him to push its limits. He then re-writes the space, according to the institution’s current way of operating and its history.
The MET installation stretches all across the terrace and looks like a black and white freeze-frame of a monumental banquet. Collaborating closely with the museum’s curators, Villar Rojas chose sculptures and objects from different departments of the museum. He then reassembled them to create an installation made of polyurethane foam sculptures covered with a coat of white, black or grey matt paint. Animals, pottery, dishes, food, statues: each object is decontextualized and mingles with others, from all eras.
According to the artist*, the Greek and Roman Art department was the most complicated to deal with in terms of curatorial choices. Villar Rojas had selected about twenty Cypriot pieces but curators did not deem his choice to be representative of the department. It is precisely within these small gaps that the artist starts negotiating with the site hosting him. He is looking for a dynamic issue and unveils it.
* July 4th, 2017 « In Conversation: Adrián Villar Rojas with Elina Kountouri » https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aozK3FlNplY