27 April 2014

The Cost of Space

© Agustina Ferreyra
If ever there was a perfect illustration of how galleries really are white cubes, Galería Agustina Ferreyra is it. "Intimate" would be an understatement when describing the gallery's ambiance, as the whole thing can scarcely be more than a few meters squared.

That said, the work inside for the exhibit Donde Hay Protesta Hay Negocio (Where There Is Protest, There Is Business) offers itself up for much closer (and, incidentally, briefer) scrutiny. Interestingly, the entire exhibition can be seen on the gallery's website here; this will allow you to be the judge of the work. Based solely upon consideration of the pieces' subject-matter and the title of the exhibit it's easy to deduce that these works are critical analyses of capitalism and activism. The titles and artist attributions are only available on the gallery's website, so the works have to be considered on purely visual terms.

Frankly, I have to admit I was only really taken with the installation Luto e Luta by Brazilian artist Marcelo Cidade. Admittedly cheating by using Portuguese's similarity to Spanish, I have inferred that the best translation would be  Mourning and Struggle, which in the original Portuguese is a very clever play on words for their striking similarity - language rears its head nonetheless! The striking image that results from the Brazilian flag underneath a neatly stacked pile of cement blocks could speak to a variety of issues and also refers back to the piece's title: a burden on the nation and its ideals, a weight that leads to hardship. One can only wonder if the mourning aspect is symbolised by the funerary aura the installation gives off, austere in its magnitude.

Whatever the case, Galería Agustina Ferreyra is at least taking chances on new artists who have something to say. Also, while most galleries of its calibre are located in posher areas, it's taken the pioneering decision to ply its trade in Santurce, the bohemian darling of San Juan's neighbourhoods. While the venue is well-appointed, perhaps it would be a good idea to break out some of the money in the frames and rent more space for future shows.

Galería Agustina Ferreyra is at 750 Avenida Fernández Juncos - just ring the bell.

The exhibition continues until 3 May.