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Commissioned work by
May 2—August 2, 2014
MACLA, 510 South First Street, San José, CA 95113
MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana presents COSMOS CODEX, a commissioned, site-specific work by artist Vargas-Suarez UNIVERSAL. This is MACLA’s first art exhibition dedicated to the relationship between art, astronomy and space research, the artist’s first solo show in California and the first time he has publicly exhibited sculptural objects.
Vargas-Suarez UNIVERSAL (VSU) is primarily known for large-scale murals, paintings, drawings, and sound recordings. He sources American and Russian spaceflight programs, astronomy, and aerospace architecture to create commissioned, studio-based and public artworks for museums, galleries, private and public spaces. A major aspect of the exhibition is VSU’s dialogue with scientists and other subject matter experts at the NASA Ames Research Center to gather information directly informing the artworks in the exhibition.
Vargas-Suarez is exploring concepts for retrieving materials from Mars, asteroids and other orbiting bodies in our solar system with the intention of allowing artists, architects and designers access to these materials to expand and explore possibilities not available to them with traditional materials available here on Earth.
Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, who curated the exhibition and is MACLA’s Senior Curator and Associate Director, says, “VSU’s work bridges space research and astronomy through art and makes it intriguing and accessible to people who have otherwise not been exposed to these new images and new vocabularies that are our contemporary and future language.”
The exhibition installation in MACLA’s gallery will be set up as a mock “clean room,” or spacecraft processing facility, typically found at NASA operations centers. The installation will include hand-intervened new digital prints, murals, paintings, sculptural objects, and a video produced in collaboration with artist Barbora Bereznakova.
MACLA, positioned in Silicon Valley, a fertile area for art, science, and innovation, is the ideal setting for COSMOS CODEX. San José in particular is a place where artists, scientists, thinkers, and other creative minds can find ways in which science can inform art and vice-versa.
This is an opportunity for both disciplines to come together to create unique projects which engage a broad community of artists, scientists, students, and others to discuss questions which both art and science ask: what is our place in the universe? How do we conceptualize, idealize, or represent our position here? How can art present scientific data in compelling ways and how can science be a source of inspiration for artists?