2020, archival ink-jet print, 40 × 57 cm
Student Work (Playing The Standards I – V)
2020, archival ink-jet print, 36 × 27 cm (14 × 10.5 in)
I – As If it Were Melvin Edwards
II – As If it Were Isa Genzken
III – As If it Were Cy Twombly
IV – As If it Were Franz West
V – As If it Were Adrian Piper
This series economically addresses the nature of influence, learning, repetition and difference. The cube is a formal subjectiviation of an ideal, an aspiration as well as a point of departure (a standard, in the Jazz sense of the term). As is characteristic in Cesarco’s practice, the work challenges the contingencies of reading, translation and recontextualization.
The Long Term (A Measure of Intimacy I – V)
2020, archival ink-jet print, 147 × 57cm
From Marcel Duchamp’s or Stanley Brouwn’s meters, to Andre Cadere’s round bars of wood, to Guy Mees, or the Surface/Support group, these works carry a long line of references. However, they also refer to my own work portraying couples, their relationships, and the limits of language. The work stubbornly insists on questioning the sustainability of desire in the long term. In this case through allegorically measuring or quantifying the comforts of intimacy, its distance.
It’s Just a Matter of Time
2020, curated section at ARCOMadrid
“It’s Just a Matter of Time”, curated with Mason Leaver-Yap, traces Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s influence on contemporary art practices. The exhibition presents a cross-generational group of artists, where influence is understood as the potential to simultaneously enable new productions and re-signify previous ones. Focusing on Gonzalez-Torres’s tendency towards infiltrating the forms and tools of critique, this exhibition grapples with the ways in which various institutional contexts conceive of and transform the body, and what resistances are produced by such interactions. Together, these works examine the ways in which knowledge has been structured, and how these structures exhibit or else conjure emotional residue.
Including works by: Tony Conrad, Henrik Olesen, Glenn Ligon, Danh Vo, Pepe Espaliú, Andrea Büttner, Wendy Jacob, Jem Cohen, Hudinilson Jr., Manon de Boer, David Lamelas, Jac Leirner, Kia LaBeija, Jack Pierson, Liam Gillick, Maria Eichhorn, Stanley Brouwn; a text by Julie Ault, and a Felix Gonzalez-Torres billboard throughout Madrid.
A series of talks, organized with Manuel Segade, included presentations by: Lynne Cooke, Hamza Walker, Tony Cokes, Laura Guy, Jorge Ribalta, Marta Echaves, Theodore (ted) Kerr.
Caption: Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (It’s Just a Matter of Time), 1992, billboard, dimensions vary with installation. © Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Courtesy: The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation. Photo: Fernando Madariaga. One of twelve billboard installations throughout Madrid.
Long Casting (A Page on Regret)
2019, archival ink-jet print, 83 × 57 cm
This is the most recent in an ongoing series of indexes for books I have not yet written and most probably never will. The indexes are an ongoing project that map the development of my interests, readings and preoccupations and thus become a form of self-portraiture that unfolds over time. “Long Casting (A Page on Regret)” is particular within the series in that it does not go from A-Z and that there is a text (“Under The Sign of Regret”) that loosely shadows it.
Margarita’s Music Book (Spes Vitae)
2018, archival ink-jet print, 95 × 119 cm
A photograph of Margarita Fernández’s sheet music for Manuel de Falla’s “Pour le tombeau de Paul Dukas”. Fernández chose to perform this work for “Learning the Language (Present Continous I)”. She had never performed the piece publicly, and due to her deteriorating eye-sight, had to exhume it from memory. She describes the work as if the chords are metal curtains that are falling or closing. The theme of finality and death are obviously central to the music; Fernández’s selection of it models the cross-generational acknowledging that occurs (between her and Cesarco) in the video.
Learning the Language (Present Continuous I)
2018, video, color, sound, continuous loop (18:25 min).
“Learning the Language (Present Continuous I)” is part of a series of video portraits in which Cesarco borrows the vocabulary of the person portrayed to address some of his own recurrent concerns (memory, repetition, regrets, etc.). In this case who is portrayed is Margarita Fernández, an Argentinean pianist, performer, and music scholar. The portrait is constructed through a myriad of voices: Cesarco’s, Fernández’s, but also Morton Feldman’s. In addition, it includes piano interpretations of a section of Franz Schubert’s Andantino from the Sonata in A Major, as well as a fragmented rendition of Manuel de Falla’s “Pour le tombeau de Paul Dukas”.
Commissioned by Jeu de Paume, Paris, CAPC, Bordeaux, Museo Amparo, Puebla.
Learning the Language (Present Continuous II)
2018, video, color, sound, continuous loop (15:25 min cycle).
“Learning the Language (Present Continuous II)” is part of a series of video portraits in which Cesarco borrows the vocabulary of the person portrayed to address some of his own recurrent concerns (memory, repetition, regrets, etc.). In this case, the work recreates a scene from Jean-Luc Godard’s film “La chinoise” (1967) in which a professor, traveling on a train, engages in conversation with one of his students. The same scene was recreated by Claire Denis in her short film “Vers Nancy” (2002). In Cesarco’s work the professor’s role is played by Brazilian psychoanalyst, critic and curator, Suely Rolnik, the student’s role is played by her assistant, Josy Panaõ. The conversation centers around the role and uses of repetition within psychoanalytical practice.
Commissioned by the 33rd São Paulo Biennial.
To Our Parents
2018, Group show organized for the 33rd São Paulo Bienal.
The work of resignifying and repeating, through re-presenting, reframing and restating is taken up in diverse ways by the cross-generational artists included in the show. The impulse to displace or recontextualize suggests particular queries into cultural and aesthetic politics. A rose is a rose is a rose, until it is not.
Including works by: Andrea Büttner, Alejandro Cesarco, Sara Cwynar, Peter Dreher, John Miller, Matt Mullican, Louise Lawler, Oliver Laric, Henrik Olesen, Jennifer Packer, Cameron Rowland, Sturtevant.
New York Public Library Picture Collection (Subject Headings)
2018, 6 framed archival ink-jet prints, 86 × 58 cm each.
The NYPL Picture Collection contains well over one million original prints, photographs, posters, postcards, and illustrations from books, magazines, and newspapers, classified into more than 12,000 subject headings. Cesarco’s series of photographs looks into its organizing principles. The Subject Heading Binder is in some way the precursor to Google Image’s algorithm, but it is also a trace or a portrait of the librarians who have worked in the collection. The headings enable the navigation and use of the collection, while simultaneously signaling what is included and excluded from it.
New York Public Library Picture Collection (Subject Headings – Cross References)
2018, 4 framed archival ink-jet prints, 76 × 55 cm each
A sister series to “New York Public Library Picture Collection (Subject Headings)”, these are photographs of the “in-house” explanation of the NYPL Picture Collection subject headings. The way information and knowledge is organized and presented has been an ongoing concern throughout Cesarco’s work.
This catalogue features an introduction by curator Solveig Øvstebø, a conversation between Alejandro Cesarco and Lynne Tillman, an essay by Julie Ault, and new short fiction by Wayne Koestenbaum in response to the exhibition.
Published by The Renaissance Society, Chicago.
Designed by Scott Ponik.
Hardcover, 26.5 × 19 cm, 112 p.
2017, 16mm film transferred to digital video, color, sound; 3 minutes.
A remake of the first chapter of “Everness” (2008) with the same actor, now almost a decade later. The characters in both videos recite a monologue on the meaning of Tragedy. The principal difference between the two is a linguistic shift from present to past tense. The presentation of these videos together invites close reflection on the passage of time, the demands on productivity, the potentials of re-reading, and the contingencies of meaning.
Der Familienroman (The Family Novel)
2017, Four framed archival ink-jet prints, 102 x 134 cm each.
A photographic re-reading of the artist’s father’s Spanish edition of “The Complete Works of Sigmund Freud.” Cesarco simultaneously reads Freud through the lens of autobiography and looks at his father’s underlining and notations of Freud’s texts as a script to his own family history and dynamics.
The Difference Between Thirty Two and Forty Five
2017, Framed two color silkscreen, 13 x 19 cm.
A humorous and literal depiction of the artist’s fears regarding aging as well as a direct wink towards the work of Larry Johnson.
Forty Seven Drawings by Marion Milner
2017, Framed archival ink-jet print, 43 x 61 cm.
A descriptive listing of all the drawings included in the English psychoanalyst’s classic text on creativity and its impediments, “On Not Being Able To Paint.”
A Portrait of Sherrie Levine
2017, Two framed archival ink-jet prints, 76 x 56 cm each.
A portrait of the artist is created by way of the checklist for Levine’s “Mayhem” retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Art (NY, 20012). The politics of alignment, placement, historical crushes, admiration and influences are recurrent and central motifs in Cesarco’s work.
Vanitas (From Remorse to Regret)
2017, Four archival inkjet prints, 74 x 116 cm each.
Vanitas is a sub-genre of still life painting popular in the Netherlands in 17Century, they represent a collections of objects symbolic of the inevitability of death and the transience and vanity of earthly possessions (including achievements and pleasures); it exhorts the viewer to consider mortality and to repent. “Vanitas (From Remorse to Regret)” films some of the principle tropes of the genre and proposes a shift from repentance/remorse to regret. The principal distinction between regret and remorse is that remorse involves feelings about how one’s actions have influenced others (so questions of morality and the law/religion take prominence, as does guilt) while regret relates to how one’s actions affect oneself (so there is therefore a narcissistic quality to it, and hence shame). Simply put, regret involves blaming ourselves for a bad outcome, feeling a sense of loss or sorrow at what might have been or wishing we could undo a previous decision. Regret is a self-reproach for having gotten it wrong. A disturbance for not living up to our ambitioned potential.
2017, 8mm film transferred to digital video, color, sound, continuous loop (2 minute cycle).
A short and tender portrait of the fleeting and involuntary nature of memory.
Words Like Love: Alphaville, First Scenes
“Words Like Love: Alphaville, First Scenes” was installed on a 14-by-48-foot billboard over Jackson Avenue at the intersection of Queens Plaza in Long Island City. The work is a textual interpretation of the opening scene of filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville (1965), an iconic science fiction/noir film that describes a futuristic dystopian society controlled by a supercomputer. Re-translating the film back into a screenplay, the project stresses the descriptive and prescriptive function of scripts: the text in this case is made to both mirror its surroundings and, to some extent, dictate the reality we see before us. Through its prominent placement over a busy intersection in Queens, the billboard points to how texts mediate public space and social life while locating critical and resistant capacities in the acts of reading and interpretation.
Commissioned through SculptureCenter‘s art education program Public Process.
Photos by: Kyle Knodell
The Inner Shadow
2016, 8mm film transferred to digital, color, sound, 6:00 minutes
An intimate conversation between two people who are aware they are being listened to. A conversation that could well be a monologue. The couple take turns using words they like. Their tone is intimate but in the sense of intimation. The camera watches them and can’t help but judge them. The camera is, to a large extent, their consciousness or witness. What we see is more of a landscape than a portrait; the camera charts a field, a scenario, it maps out a dynamic. The hand-held camera documents a theatrical, rehearsed, ceremony depicting a complete and ideal love, or its breakdown. What is seen is the attempts of sustaining desire over a long term. What is negotiated is the difference between who we are and who we were. The work questions how our self image differs from who we really are or have become and how we deal with this difference. The scene follows a couple that looks back on failed expectations and unfulfilled promises. The tone of their conversation is highly personal, but also somewhat artificial. As noted, one of the questions the work poses is whether desire for the other is sustainable in the long term. An other question the work hints at is whether the pursuit of the other’s desire can avoid becoming a crisis of self-identification.
The Illustrated Adventures of Attention, Memory, and Expectation
2016, drawing on paper, framed, 21 x 29.7 cm, 5 + 2 AP.
The anonymous drawing re-traced here originates from a 1950s advertising for an Argentinean publisher. The title refers to how Augustine conceived time as a “three fold present” in which the temporal dimensions of present/past/future are concentrated into the subjective orientations of attention/memory/expectation. These three modes are allegorized by the three characters illustrated: the older man, the book, and the younger fellow that trails behind (although no clear indicator is given as to which trait is assigned to whom). I drawing contrasts the question of temporality in relation to technologies of the book, and reading and looking more generally, to think about what modes of attention/memory/expectation contemporary art produces and requires as conditions of its experience.
The work was produced as an edition in support of n.b.k, Berlin.
Studies for a Series on Love (Wendy’s Hands)
2015, two archival inkjet prints, framed 26.5 × 31cm (each)
Placed on opposite gallery walls, two slightly larger than life-size portraits of the artist’s partner’s hands appear to hold the exhibition space between their grasp. The two small works are a huge acknowledgement of the artist’s partner’s support as well as a public declaration of love. To give a hand, to take in hand, to keep at hand, the space between our hands, to embrace, to hold, to caress, to support, etc.
The Dreams I’ve Left Behind
2015, silkscreen on wall 65.5 × 88 cm
In “The Dreams I’ve Left Behind,” a faint image of the wall behind the artist’s bed is silkscreened directly onto the gallery wall. What appears at first as a dry tautological exercise subtly reveals itself to be a vulnerable and deeply emotional displacement. Cesarco describes his use of color in this work, and in the wall treatment for “Allegory, or The Perils of the Present Tense,” as “muted melodrama.” He also described “The Dreams” “as if the gallery wall were blushing.” It is unclear however, if the wall is blushing because of the nature of the artist’s dreams or because he has left them behind.
Family Album (Aunts and Uncles)
2015, archival inkjet print, 127 × 85 cm, framed
By way of the checklist for the “Pictures Generation 1974-1984” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY, 2009), an adopted genealogy is constructed. The politics of alignment, placement, historical crushes, admiration and influences are recurrent and central motifs in Cesarco’s work.
Index (With Feeling)
2015, framed digital c-prints, A-Z in 9 double page spreads, 30 × 40 inches each.
Most recent and largest in an ongoing series of indexes which Cesarco has composed for books he has not yet written and most probably never will. The indexes are an ongoing project that map the development of Cesarco’s interests, readings and preoccupations and thus become a form of self-portraiture that unfolds over time. “Index (With Feeling)” addresses particular states of weak affects: aesthetic categories grounded in ambivalent or even explicitly contradictory feelings.
Allegory, or, The Perils of the Present Tense
2015, 16mm film transferred to digital, color, silent, 10:30 min., wall treatment
“Allegory, or, The Perils of the Present Tense,” is composed of a fragmented text, appearing as inter-titles, interspersed with snapshot-like images of memories (his own and from films — “screen-memories” of sort). Throughout the work conjectures about the past are balanced against promises of the future. By talking about the past the artist is also talking about his wants or desires. In this sense, talking about the past becomes a way of talking about the future; of fashioning a future.
2015, 16mm film transferred to digital, color, silent, 3:50 minutes.
In “Mirrored Portrait,” after sixteen years of not seeing each other Cesarco invites his first photography teacher, Panta Astiazarán, to take his portrait as Cesarco, in turn, films a portrait of him. “Mirrored Portrait” is the documentation of this action. The work aligns itself with Cesarco’s previous explorations of autobiography and representations of “father-figures”: principally, “Zeide Isaac” (2009) and “Present Memory” (2010).
Untitled (Blue Frame)
2015, archival ink-jet print, 16.25 x 20.5 inches
A Portrait of Robert Walser
2015, framed ink-jet print, 40 x 52 cm.
A short text, taped to a window and partially obscuring the Manhattan skyline, describes some of the ways Robert Walser’s writing works.
2015, ink-jet print, 84 × 119 cm
A group show curated by Matthew Brannon in 2008.
An idea for a play.
Gallery Artists (gb agency).
Some Georges Simenon titles.
Words With Ruscha
2014, two framed ink-jet prints, 50 × 40 inches (127 × 100 cm) each.
Two photographs with differing perspective of the same museum-like introductory wall text for a fictitious Ed Ruscha retrospective based chiefly around ideas of banality and boredom. The quality of the wall onto which the text is applied, and the nature of the text itself, gives us some definite clues as to where the exhibition might be taking place and who was tasked to write the introduction. The repetition of the scene, the double-take, in some ways illustrate the Ruscha quote included in the wall-text, “Good art should elicit a response of ‘Huh? Wow!’ as opposed to ‘Wow! Huh?'”
2014, framed ink-jet print, 24 × 31.5 inches (61 × 80 cm).
“Untitled (Remembered)” is perhaps the domestic equivalent of “Words With Ruscha,” “Untitled (Remembered)” presents a text on methodologies and typologies of remembering among piles of books and a wide range of ephemera that range from a vintage postcard of a statue of Mercury in repose to a still of Monica Vitti in “L’ avventura.”
The Style It Takes (Excerpts)
2014, 6 archival inkjet prints, 33.5 × 22.5 inches each
“The Style it Takes (Excerpts)” are printed pages from a yet unwritten book that revolves around the possibilities of art, the social function of art, and the shifting roles of the artist persona.
A Truce Mistaken For Surrender
2014, white gloss paint on wall, dimension variable.
A Portrait of the Artist Approaching Forty
2014, 3 framed archival inkjet prints, 5 x 7 inches each
“A Portrait of the Artist Approaching Forty I, Walking the Studio,” or “Of course life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work–the sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from the outside–the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don’t show their effect all at once.”
“Portrait of the Artist Approaching Forty II, Pacing the Studio,” or “There is another sort of blow that comes from within – that you don’t feel until it’s too late to do anything about it, until you realize with finality that in some regard you will never be as good a man again.”
“Portrait of the Artist Approaching Forty III, Mapping the Studio,” or “The first sort of breakage seems to happen quick – the second kind happens almost without your knowing it but is realized suddenly indeed.”
2013, 16mm film transferred to video, black and white / sound, 15:30 minutes
Co-produced by Contour Mechelen, Belgium and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, “Musings” retells a series of anecdotes regarding premonitions, fate, dreams, and other types of messages that are the generative source for creative work. Compiled are stories by or relating to, amongst others, Susan Sontag, Ingmar Bergman, Maurice Blanchot, Italo Calvino, Julio Cortázar, and Agnes Varda. The selected stories also have in common that the resulting creative works (art, literature, or film) have very much to do with death and mortality. “Musings” proposes to triangulate the ideas of inspiration, influence and inheritance.
A Printed Portrait of Julie Ault
2013, ink-jet print, 46 × 34.5 inches
Shortly After Breakfast She Received The News
2012, 16mm transferred to video, color / sound, seamless loop
If in Time
2012, HD video and 16mm film transferred to video, color / sound, 9:40 minutes
“If In Time” theatricalizes and references Cesarco’s previous video work, “Methodology,” produced for the Uruguayan Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale. The new work takes up the two characters from “Methodology” and projects them 10 or 15 years into the future. The couple speaks to each other only through texts they read. She reads from her own literary production and he reads a text he is writing about her work. In spite of text being an alienating factor between them, it is also through this indirect address that they entertain an illusion of possibility: of understanding, of change, of contentment.
Index (An Orphan)
2012, A-Z in 6 pages, digital c-prints, 30 × 24 each
‘Index (An Orphan)’ is the fourth in an ongoing series of indexes which Cesarco has composed for books he has not yet written and most probably never will. The indexes are an ongoing project that maps the development of Cesarco’s interests, readings and preoccupations; this particular one addresses the experience of mourning, the loss of childhood, and becoming an orphan as an adult.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
2012, ink-jet print, 30 × 24 inches
“A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” is a condensed and personalized translation of James Joyce’s classic, consisting of all the months of January of Cesarco’s youth.
Where I’m Calling From
2012, four framed ink-jet prints, 30 × 40 inches
“Where I’m Calling From” is an imagined book, laid out in four prints, that compiles a series of photographs and texts that that reflects on and excavates the artist’s influences and early work. The compiled works and references are an unveiling of methodologies that act as a direct confrontation with the past, perhaps as a way to lay it to rest and to start anew.
An Abridged History of Regret
2012, three framed ink-jet prints, 30 × 65 inches
The three large panels that comprise “An Abridged History of Regret” are a sort of “line drawing” which Cesarco produced by combing through his library, photographing passages of text that reflect on various paths not taken in relation to one’s professional and emotional life.
Four Modes of Experiencing Regret
2012, framed ink-jet print, 30 × 40 inches
“Four Modes of Experiencing Regret” employs a pseudo-scientific method to uncover typologies of regret in relation to different literary genres and narratives. The four photographs that illustrate each genre (Romantic, Comic, Tragic, Ironic) are taken from Jean-Luc Godard’s film, “Une femme mariée.”
2011, HD video, color / sound, 7 minutes, two tripod stands, gator-board screen
“Methodology” is a video that takes up secrecy as a narrative structure and a mode of address: what is said and what cannot be said, and the way people act in relation to what is alluded to, taken for granted, or ultimately silenced. This work was commissioned for the Uruguay Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale.
The Gift and the Retribution
2011, 2 framed contact c-prints, 10 × 8 inches / 20 × 25 cm each
“The Gift and the Retribution” consists of photographs of the covers of the first editions of two books with crossed dedications: “The Goodbyes” by Juan Carlos Onetti and “Love Poems” Idea Vilariño. A recurring motif in Cesarco’s work, the dedication is a device for justifying the production of a work to a public.
2011, color slide installation, synchronized sound, 17 minutes
“The Reader” links the figures of the detective with that of the reader; and the figure of the writer with that of the criminal. The text-slide projection is interspersed with a voice-over read by Lawrence Weiner.
Fragile Images That Keep Producing Death While Attempting To Preserve Life: Flowers found in crimes scenes_001-004
2011, archival ink-jet prints, 28 × 21 inches
This work was initially conceived as part of Cesarco’s installation “The streets were dark with something more than night, or the closer I get to the end the more I rewrite the beginning,” for which he was awarded the 2011 Baloise Prize at Art 42 Basel.
2010, HD video and 16mm film, color no sound, 4 minutes
“Present Memory” is an intimate portrait of the artist’s father, shortly after the latter had been diagnosed with lung cancer. The work documents both a constructed and anticipated memory. The literal and metaphorical projection staged in the work is a rehearsal of fears: an attempt at dealing with a future absence, the process of mourning and remembering, mortality and letting go. Projected in the same location on three different levels of the museum, and aligned within the architecture as frames in a film strip, the work inserts a personal narrative into the institutional space, triggering a sense of déjà vu as visitors move through the building. Commissioned by Tate Modern.
Turning Some Pages
2010, video installation, multiple screen/projection, variable time
“Turning Some Pages” presents a fragmented narrative that sets the tone for a particular way of looking that is also a way of reading. Commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
The Two Stories
2009, 16mm film transferred to video, 9 minutes
In “The Two Stories” a story is being read out loud to an audience in a private family room. What we hear is actually not the story being told but the thoughts of the person reading the story; the instances of distraction, nervousness, etc. The camera follows the reader’s gaze as it goes from the text to the different objects and people in the room. Based on a story by Felisberto Hernández. Commissioned by ArtPace, San Antonio.
2009, single channel installation, 16mm transferred to video, 6 minutes
In “Zeide Isaac” the artist’s grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, performs a script written by Cesarco and based on the elder’s personal story. The work explicitly address the possibilities, limitations and responsibilities of testimony. The layering of narrative voices and the passage of time between the event and it’s retelling, from first hand experience to third generation, is allegorically implied in his grandfather’s passage from witness to actor.
2008, single channel installation, 16mm transferred to video, 12 minutes
“Everness” is made up of 5 chapters: a remake of the very last scene of James Joyce’s “The Dead,” a monologue on the meaning of Tragedy, a breakfast scene, and two songs: one from the Spanish Civil War and another from Brazil’s Tropicalista movement. The work speaks of a first love and a loss of innocence and relates them to notions of classic literary tragedy. The work primarily centers around an emotionally handicapped couple at the moment when their inability to access their own passions is articulated through language.
The Ramones (An Autobiography)
2008, 2008 digital c-print, 40 × 30 inches
“The Ramones (An Autobiography)” is a song list, organized in chronological order, of every Ramones song that begins with the pronoun I.
2008, 2008 digital c-print, 30 × 40 inches
2008, offset print, 8.5 x 11 inches
Replica of stationary fabricated by Marcel Broodthaers for the project Musée d’art moderne, 1969.
2008, digital c-print, 26 × 26 inches
“Us” was a component of the installation ‘Once Within a Room’, which was at once the synopsis, the set, the characters, and the props of a story – a spatial configuration dominated by the phantoms of particular pasts. It presented the classic trope of lover, beloved, and the space between them.
Stage Direction/Establishing Shot
2008, black vinyl, to be placed by a window
A component of the installation “Once Within a Room,” which is at once the synopsis, the set, the characters, and the props of a story – a spatial configuration dominated by the phantoms of particular pasts. It presents the classic trope of lover, beloved, and the space between them.
Index (a Reading)
2007-2008, A-Z in 10 pages, digital c-prints, 30 x 24 each
“Index (a Reading)” self-consciously addresses the idea of what constitutes an index, what is its relation to reading, writing, memory, history and forgetting.
Retrospective (with John Baldessari)
2007, 12 silk screens on aluminum, 48 × 36 inches (122 × 91 cm) each
“Retrospective” (with John Baldessari) is a collaboration that addresses the idea of looking back as a framing device and a narrative mode. Implicit in the project is a concern for the difference created by re-telling and re-presenting the past in the present. The segmentation of history is quite an arbitrary and conventional matter, a story for making the present intelligible. But who narrates, and for whom? What is included and what is left out of this narrative? The dangers of taking pleasure in the past and the benefits of remembering in order to reinvent operate along a very fine line.
Marguerite Duras’s India Song
2006, 2 channel video installation, red walls, 3 slow rotating fans, text
Marguerite Duras’s India Song is a video installation with sculptural elements and a commissioned short text by Argentine writer Daniel Link. The project continues Duras’s own transpositions from novel to novel and from novel to play to film, raising questions of intertextuality, mediums and forms. The installation takes an existing text, a pre-text, and re-tells it as a way of transforming discursive practice through repetition. At stake in this return to a previous text is a negotiation of the limit between repetition and reduplication. In the installation the love story of the play is retold by a voice over that recounts the narrative structure or device of how this love story is told, in turn the two video channels show establishing shots that are doubled or mirrored in Duras’s film. The installation dramatizes the possibilities of representation and recollection and uses the colonial aspiration of territorial, gender and cultural appropriation as a metaphor for practices of repetition and translation. Commissioned by Art in General.
All the things you can’t forget / The shadow of the past
2006, white text on black wall, dimmed light, room installation
To be installed on opposite walls. The text “All the things you can’t forget” (white font on black background) is to be placed almost as subtitles would appear on a film. “The Shadow of the Past,” is a blank, white wall with dimmed lighting. It is to have the same method of illumination as the rest of the room only significantly reduced, giving a yellowish, nostalgic coloring to the wall and shadow. A wall label indicating title, etc. should be placed on this wall.
2006, ongoing, vinyl on wall, dimensions vary
An ongoing series of wall drawings that may or not accompany (inform) other works.
Here Comes The Sun
2004, yellow paint on wall, dimensions vary with installation
An optimistic wall drawing.
2004, 10 archival ink-jet prints, 16 × 20 inches each
“Untitled (Dante/Calvino),” is composed of ten different translations of Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” each titled after a chapter in Italo Calvino’s “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler.” A reflection on the construction of narrative, the complicity between reading and writing, translation practices and the impossibility of a faithful repetition.
2004, (Austin, TX: Testsite/Fluent~Collaborative)
“Love Poems” is the first ever English translation of Uruguayan poet Idea Vilariño’s book “Poemas de amor” (1957), a covert form of appropriation that investigates the potential of literal translation as a visual act.
2003, digital c-print, 24 × 20 inches
“Prescribed Texts” is a study of melancholy from a therapeutical point of view. Not an allegorical substitution, sublimation, in face of loss but an attempt at overcoming through understanding.
2003, 10 receipts, ink on paper, 8.5 × 5 inches each
A bouquet of flowers was sent to a selected group of people. A performance for a public of one. Flowers were sent to: Vija Celmins, Elizabeth Peyton, Roni Horn, Yvonne Rainer, Lynne Tillman, Louise Lawler, Yoko Ono, Rachel Harrison, Andrea Fraser, Sherrie Levine.
Index (A Novel)
2003, A-Z in 4 double page spreads, digital c-prints, 40 × 30 inches (100 × 76 cm) each
“Index (A Novel)” is a romantic novel of sorts, a repetition of romantic archetypes and melodramatic clichés.
Tim Rollins & K.O.S. Works on Paper 1983–2003
2003, survey exhibition, Art Resources Transfer, NY.
All the dedications from my library. A compilation of author’s affection for their muses, mentors and motivators. A definition of audience.
2002, single slide projection
In “Fade Out” a single slide of a young woman is projected continuously until the image fades out. (A physical effect produced by the light and heat emanating from the projector.) An exercise in forgetting. The duration of the “performance”, as with the persistence of our memories, is undetermined.
When I am Happy Drawings
2002, ongoing, colour pencil on paper, 9 × 12 inches (23 × 30 cm)
“When I am Happy Drawings:” a stubborn belief that someday things will change and happiness will occur.
2002, ongoing, archival ink-jet print, approx. 20 × 16 inches (50 × 40 cm) each
“Pictures” are photographed texts appropriated from magazine and journals of art critics’ descriptions of both my own and other people’s work.
2002, video/sound, 2 minutes
“Help!” is a non-metaphorical, though somewhat desperate and dramatized video. A dead-pan recitation of the lyrics to the Beatles’ song: “Help, I need somebody/Help, not just anybody/Help, you know I need someone …”
2001, video, 15 minutes
“Scrabble” is video registry of a scripted game. Four friends play Scrabble. A fixed camera shows the board where names of influences are composed according to script. Names accumulate on top of each other in a sculptural manner.
2000, Exhibition, curated with Patricia Bentancur, Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Montevideo, Uruguay.
The Waltz Series
2000, ink-jet prints, 20 × 16 inches each.
Bar Mitzvah photographs of the artist dancing with some of his classmates.
2000, A-Z in 12 pages, digital c-prints, 20 × 16 inches each
This first “Index” was meant as a book of books, a meta book that would contain all books. A container that would become its own content. “Index” is half way biographical and half way theory text; it is extremely personal, yet full of clichés.
Alejandro Cesarco (born Montevideo, Uruguay) lives and works in New York. His most recent solo exhibitions include: “Song,” The Renaissance Society, Chicago (2017); “The Measure of Memory,” Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan (2017); Public Process, Sculpture Center, New York (2017); “Play,” Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin (2015), “Prescribe The Symptom,” Midway Contemporary Art, 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), “Words Applied to Wounds,” Murray Guy (2012), “The Early Years,” Tanya Leighton (2012), “A Common Ground,” Uruguayan Pavilion, 54th Venice Biennial (2011), “One Without The Other,” Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico (2011), “Present Memory,” Tate Modern, London (2010). Group exhibitions include: “Under The Same Sun,” The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014), “The Imminence of Poetics,” 30th Bienal de São Paulo (2012), “Short Stories,” Sculpture Center, New York (2011); and “Nine Screens,” The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010.) He was the 2011 winner of the Baloize Art Prize, 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,” at Art 42 Basel. These exhibitions addressed, through different formats and strategies, his recurrent interests in repetition, narrative, and the practices of reading and translating. He has also curated exhibitions in the U.S., Uruguay, Argentina and a project for the 6th Mercosur Biennial (2007), Porto Alegre, Brazil. He is director of the non-profit arts organization, Art Resources Transfer.
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