It is dark. We have landed on another planet.
Rough, edgy boulders sit among layers of earth flowing throughout the transformed gallery. The Geffen Contemporary space in Little Tokyo entices visitors from another dimension- inhabitants from another galaxy.
Adrián Villar Rojas has once again used his fantastic imagination to create this esoteric installation. The Argentinian artist is renowned for his gigantic clay sculptures, plunging humans into their own degeneration and limitations while simultaneously confounding art in his dream-like modern compositions.
The Theater of Disappearance is a segmented project displayed in different cities: New York, Athens, Bregenz and Los Angeles. A journey of wander, during which asking questions is advised. Some will be discovered immediately while others will remain unsolved.
Stepping into complete darkness, tall, thick blue walls tower over us. The eyes slowly accustom to the dim luminosity and as outlines gradually take shape, a new world appears bright and clear.
Boulders, rocks, pillars, refrigerated vitrines and fridges sporadically stand on uneven ground. Each step we take is unsteady, relying on our senses to guide us from one vitrine to the next. These forced physical alterations create a feeling of discomfort which is gradually appeased by the presence of the gallery assistants illuminating the ground with lamp torches, and the other visitors.
What lays inside the vitrines compels another sensation: one of suddenly being of another species, observing the remnants of a past life.
The content of each vitrine is different; some house bones, robot hands and root vegetables while others, trainers, dried orange slices, fish carcasses and larger animals. The inscribed temperature of 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 degrees) underpins the idea that everything we see is real: the blood, hair, rust, skin, and bones. Each eerie element which was once alive, now lays together inert. The compositions are aesthetically exquisite; from the soft colour palette to the bouquet-like arrangements.
Approaching each vitrine, the thought of looking at vestiges from another world, emerges from within. The more we dive into the poetic landscape of Villar Rojas, the further we become detached from our human identity. We realise that in fact, we are facing Mankind’s extinction.
Flora, fauna, and humans are sealed in a casket made of glass. Skeletons are gracefully placed in a bath of milk. Who has arranged is this? Which year is it? Who are we?
This non-human feeling, which Villar Rojas has fabricated, helps to be emotionally detached from a throbbing death. Forced to look at the future, and no longer ourselves, it is easier to ask if this is how the human species ends. From this ascertainment, a practical question unfolds: what happened to us?
Although I am glancing at a sombre setting, the detour I took today in The Theater of Disappearance is peaceful to the point that I do not want to leave. Alone with cadaverous debris and an existential introspection, I wander some more, reminding myself that in a moment I will be ripped from this fantastic dystopia to re-enter my vain reality.
The Theater of Disappearance: Adrián Villar Rojas The Geffen Contemporary at Moca Los Angeles (22 October – 13 May 2018)