Chaveli Sifre, Coconut bombs, 2016-present. Mixed media, dimensions variable.
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 November 19, 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
Guillermo Rodríguez (b. 1986, San Juan) studied fine arts and sculpture at the University of Puerto Rico. He completed a Bachelor of Art (Honors) in Art Practice at Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2010 and attended a Master’s program in Curating Visual Arts at Universidad Nacional Tresde Febrero in Argentina. He has participated in the Rauschenberg Foundation Residency, the Banff Centre Visual Arts Residency, inaugurated the The Davidoff Arts Initiative Residency in Basel, and exhibited in the 11th Havana Biennial: Práctica Artísticas e Imaginarios Sociales, Artesur: Collective Fictions at the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Final del Juego at Fundación Proa (Buenos Aires) and Entre Formas at Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. As part of his fellowship with Beta-Local in 2016, he founded and directed the transitory exhibition platform La Estacion Espacial. Rodríguez has recently curated Herbaria at Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales in la Habana, CROMÁNTICA de Chaveli Sifre, Balancing a Blade on Diamond Grass (Balancing a Diamond on a Blade of Grass) at El Lobi, in San Juan and KIOSK at Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space in New York. He is currently ICI’s 2022 Curatorial Research Fellow.
Rebecca Adorno’s work stems from a research-based approach rooted in her background in Engineering and Fine Arts. By recontextualizing scientific data, technology, and concepts involving physics of sound, Adorno creates physical representations of intangible phenomena while drawing parallels between aesthetics of beauty and lethality: signs and poetic contents that arise when catastrophic events, such as climate change, show flashes of sublime beauty. Adorno lives and works in NYC.
Javier Bosques (b. 1985, San Juan, Puerto Rico) is a visual artist with a multidisciplinary practice working on concepts related to time perception, memory, and the construction of narratives. Bosques earned a BFA from The Cooper Union in New York City in 2008 and holds an MFA in film directing from UCLA in Los Angeles (2015). Bosques has recently exhibited at Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan, 2021; Storefront for Art and Architecture, NYC, 2019; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2018; LAXART, LA, 2017; Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago, 2017 and Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, La Habana 2017 among other institutions. Bosques lives and works from his studio in Río Grande, Puerto Rico.
Danny Rivera-Cruz is an artist and designer from Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Through a variety of mediums that include installation, mixed media, painting, and video, Rivera-Cruz’s practice looks to re-interpret materials and images creating combinations that revolve around the flexibility of memory, image trajectories, obsession, and the spectator’s role in the creation of meaning. Rivera-Cruz completed his BFA in Image & Design from E.A.P in 2010 and an MFA in Painting and illustration from Brooklyn College in 2014. Rivera-Cruz lives and works in Santurce, PR.
Chaveli Sifre (b. 1986, Germany) researches healing practices, the sense of smell, botany, collectivity, and belief systems. Her practice seeks to generate relationships of affection and rehabilitate our sensorial perception. Encompassing installations, objects, paintings, and performative rituals, Sifre’s work explores intersensorial entanglement as knowledge production. She believes understanding the relation between somatic processes, intangible heritage, and scientific knowledge is a necessary part of the decolonization process. Perceptual processes inform the systems of value in a particular society, this awareness exposes us to difference and may serve as a method for dismantling otherness. Sifre lives and works in Berlin, DE.