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Opening Reception: KIOSK
September 9 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pmFree
Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space is pleased to present KIOSK, a group show curated by Guillermo Rodríguez featuring recent works by artists Rebecca Adorno, Javier Bosques, Danny Rivera-Cruz, and Chaveli Sifre, on view at 88 Essex Street from September 9 through October 29, 2022.
Conjuring Cuchifritos Gallery’s material history and placement inside of a public food market, KIOSK draws on familiar as well as abstract associations of the marketplace, re-veiling it as a place of mystery and wonder. The works in KIOSK tend to blur the lines between mental and material environments employing ordinary objects as poetic devices. Tracing parallels between La Placita in Santurce, Puerto Rico and Essex Market in Manhattan, the artists playfully explore notions of memory, indulgence, and joy.
In a painterly exercise that verges on the sculptural, Chaveli Sifre sets the Plaza del Mercado atmosphere with an immersive Caribe Green© wall-piece that serves as a backdrop for an exhibition as festive as it is nostalgic, like an afterparty. Moving towards sensuality and bodily awareness, Sifre infuses the gallery with enfleurage murals employing a process that uses natural fats to capture the fragrant compounds exuded by locally sourced tuberose flowers. Made in collaboration with Saffron florist Kana Togashi, Untitled (Enfleurage) captures an olfactory essence that connects Santurce to Loisaida. Sifre also presents a series of Coconut bombs–inaccessible perfume-type tinctures comprised of a mixture of chloroform, Puerto Rican rum, and other herbs used to calm the nerves.
In an ASMR fashion Rebecca Adorno presents a kinetic sculpture made out of wind chimes tuned to C, resonating at around 440hz: sound frequencies related to grieving and altered states of consciousness. Conjuring the nostalgia-steeped jukebox, Adorno also shows a series of records that contain sounds collected in Puerto Rico, from underwater noise and atmospheric sound to the voice of a street vendor and an ice cream van. Ranging from anthropogenic damage in underwater ecosystems to childhood reminiscence, these portable soundscapes physically imprint memory on record. Nuancing the space between the objects on display, Adorno and Sifre’s auditory and olfactory interventions accentuate the harmony and peculiarity of Cuchifritos’ food-market setting.
Appropriating the visual language of advertising to grasp a fleeting hand-drawn trace, Javier Bosques presents a neon sign depicting two birds in synchronized flight as a preamble to a video piece invoking food market fauna with a twist: pigeons, this time entranced. Drawn from memory and made in collaboration with the artist’s mother, Elba Meléndez, Bosques’ Extensión Familiar series pays homage to single-family housing with unfinished construction, a common sight in the Puerto Rican landscape. Typically built upon over time due to constrained resources, the cinder blocks stacked over the roof signal aspirations to expand and grow–an exoskeleton of sorts that mutates and grows together with the family nucleus. In tandem with Javo’s casitas, Danny Rivera-Cruz’s ornamental glass-block sculpture conjures improvisational building techniques and vernacular architectures. Rivera-Cruz presents a series of modular structures as symbols and negotiators of private-public space as the result of a sustained object-aided investigation. Archetypical gatekeepers from Mesopotamia to Levittown, a pair of leonine patio sculptures serves as a parking space keeper: simultaneously servile and imposing objects, movable yet unyielding. The sculptural scale and quality of these liminal structures suggest spaces of transit: domestic portals like the market itself.
This transitory exhibition is the result of an expanded conversation between the artists formalized in two recently opened exhibitions at El Lobi, a former hotel lobby in Santurce and Produce Model Gallery, a former Laundromat in Chicago. As in these previous exhibitions, KIOSK presents objects and banal situations that under patient contemplation reveal their potential to marvel, their charm and poetry. Evoking the historical presence (and displacement) of the Puerto Rican community in the Lower East Side and the city at-large, KIOSK pays homage to its capacity to thrive and celebrate in the face of adversity–this proclivity to joy is not resilient, it is subversive. Despite gentrification or austerity, migration or deprivation, let us rejoice in the island and the city, en Santurce o Nueva York.
– Guillermo Rodríguez