Philipp von Rosen

Jose Dávila

07 Sep - 02 Nov 2013

© Jose Dávila
The Rules of Attraction, 2013
Stainless steel and automotive enamel paint
218 x 390 x 600 cm
Das muss der Ort sein
7 September - 2 November 2013

On September 6 during DC-open we inaugurate Das muss der Ort sein (This Must Be the Place), our second exhibition with the Mexican artist Jose Dávila (born 1974 in Guadalajara, Mexico). It is his first exhibition in the Rhineland. We are glad to show five sculptures and three of his Cut-outs.

Cut-outs are works for which Dávila cuts away the central objects from enlarged re­pro­ductions of iconic architectures or artworks in order to induce our imagination or cul­tural memory to complete the images. By framing these images (or what remains of them) between two sheets of glass, a new spatial image is created in particular by the voids. Because there is a shadow cast on the back of the frame. One could say: the depicted object leaves, a new object comes.
In our current exhibition the removed objects are artworks from the last 60 years, that is, sculptures and installations by Giovanni Anselmo, Joseph Beuys, Marcel Broodthaers, Alexander Calder, Anthony Caro, Liam Gillick, Michael Heizer, Norbert Kricke, Richard Long, Walter de Maria, Cildo Meireless, Bruce Nauman, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Richard Serra or Tony Smith. Many of these works belong to the canon of art history. Even if we do not immediately know who was the author of the removed object, we feel – as a knowledgeable viewer – that we know the works and that we have them in our mind's eye. The interaction of emptiness and me­mory leads to the viewer's awareness of the comparability of the topics and ar­ti­stic strategies these internationally and – on the other hand – very differently wor­king artists are working with.

The five sculptures Dávila has created for our show are another way of memorizing mo­dernist, minimal, post-minimal and poor (in the sense of: Arte Povera) sculpture. However, it is a very loose memory, an association, a working with elements and stra­tegies, and not a precise citation. Thus, here Dávila does not appropriate (and, in the following: varies and develops) forms and ideas other artists had before. It is ra­ther a renaissance of sculptural possibilities that have been implemented in a very con­temporary way. "Line" and "space" as well as the coaction of drawing and the third dimension are the dominating topics of these works. While the work You've Gotta Hold On to What You Got is anthropomorphic and reminds us of a standing figure, Nobody Knew What Hap­pened While I Was Away lets us think of artists that are as different as Anthony Caro or the German Norbert Kricke. And when we see the two entangled "circles" of Principle of Understanding, we could see the marble sculpture Continuity by Max Bill, that is standing in front of the Deutsche Bank's main building in Frankfurt, as a background of Dávila's work and his interest for a play­ful deconstruction of an almost mathematical geometry, that has played a large role in earlier sculpture. This chain of associations could be easily prolonged. How­ever, only two further artists are mentioned: Richard Serra's use of gravity is mir­ro­red in Imperfect Circle, and Alexander Calder's large mobiles and stabiles seem to be reborn in The Rules of Attrac­tion.

All three-dimensional works of the exhibition have in common the joyous com­bi­na­tion of colors and the artist's willingness to put – besides the spatial composition and the modernist game of balance and equilibrium – the color itself in the fore­ground. And this again reminds us of Max Bill's color pillars, his Constellations.

This Must Be the Place is the title of a famous Talking Heads-Song. In it, David Byrne also talks about what it means to feel at home. One could think Dávila had shown us with the exhibition and the works he refers to his home as an artist ("Home is were I want to be" is one line from the song), the artistic house he is living in. More important for our exhibition, though, is the fact that with "this must be the place" the place itself, the space in which a sculpture exists is stressed. And, na­tu­ral­ly, this space played a very important role in the art history of the last decades, where­ver three-dimensional works were created. It is not the depiction of something that can be considered to be "beautiful on all sides" (Benvenuto Cellini), but working with the space and exactly this space is defined and created by Dávila's works.

Tags: Giovanni Anselmo, Joseph Beuys, Max Bill, Marcel Broodthaers, David Byrne, Alexander Calder, Anthony Caro, José Dávila, Liam Gillick, Michael Heizer, Norbert Kricke, Richard Long, Walter De Maria, Bruce Nauman, Michelangelo Pistoletto, M. Pistoletto, Richard Serra, Tony Smith