Alexander Apóstol | Think Blue
March 19 - April 17, 2010.
Arratia Beer is pleased to present Alexander Apóstol’s first solo show in Germany. Comprised by a photographic series and two videos, the exhibition highlights Apóstol’s interest in 50’s and 60’s monumental architecture and the collapse of modernist utopias in Latin America.In Avenida Libertador, Apóstol’s gritty black and white video, transsexuals flirt and introduce themselves to the camera as well-known Venezuelan artists (“I am Jesus Soto”, “I am Cruz Diez” “I am Gego”) while standing in the Libertador Avenue, Caracas.
Built during the 50’s, the mega-avenue was an emblem of the dreams of progress and that swept the nation. Now in an increasingly ideological polarized country, the Avenida Libertador is the frontier that not only divides the East and West of the city, but also separates two politically opposed municipalities. As a way to mark their territory each municipality has appropriated opposite walls of the avenue and respectively decorated them with murals representing two divergent artistic traditions: The landscape tradition of the turn of 1900’s and the constructivist movement (which came to its height during the 70’s). In the video, the transsexuals that inhabit the avenue take over the roles of the official visual artists of each faction, parodying the use of art by the Estate as political propaganda.Apóstol’s recent video Yamaikaleter momentarily reunites these two irreconcilable political sides in one performance: the reading of the Jamaica Letter, Simon Bolivar’s famous political manifesto, written in English in 1815. In the video various (pro and con Chavez government) community leaders, read aloud the document in its original language. As none of the readers speaks English the outcome is an unintelligible babble, which, with the increasing enthusiasm of the political aficionados, soon turns into a grotesque spectacle. Moreover, both performer and spectator are excluded from the meaning of the reading and the political messianism with its empty promises is reduced to sarcastic absurdity.
Included also in the exhibition is Think Blue, Apostol’s series of digitally manipulated photographs. The series focus on intricate relationship between the construction of the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, the architect Richard Neutra's original plans for the Elysian Park Heights housing complex and the destruction of the Chavez Ravine, a community of Mexican immigrant workers. Here Apóstol re-contextualize images of the Modernist stadium and brings to the forefront the ideological failings of the past and the socio-political realities of the present.
Click here for the German press release