Tesserae

18 Jan — 26 Feb 2017 at the Johannes Vogt Gallery in New York, United States

15 FEBRUARY 2017
Tesserae, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Johannes Vogt Gallery and the photographer, Mari Juliano
Tesserae, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Johannes Vogt Gallery and the photographer, Mari Juliano

Arising from her ongoing research on color and rhythm, Monika Bravo’s new works place us in an abyss pulsing with vibrating waves of energy, where readability and meaning remain elusive. After Bergson’s understanding of time and his concept of duration --which differentiates between the time that we measure in intervals and the time of our experience--Bravo aims for an interconnected sense of unity between space and time through an understanding of our mind´s cognitive structure, which gives to formless reality both shape and meaning. Thus, the visual layers and cycles that dwell between those states of abstraction and their corresponding materiality are what Bravo´s work reveals to us and what we are supposed to experience through it.

Throughout her new installation, in the form of a mosaic of ideas, Bravo shows the gathering and editing of images through stitching, weaving, and compositing. Bravo also uses color to create a material contrast, a physical experience grounded in the circular duration of time in the piece. In the center of five monitors, three projectors, and sound, the viewer undergoes a hyper- rhythmic sensorial stimulation. In this activated state, on the one hand, Bravo is superimposing layers on LCD screens to help us enter into a new cognizance, where perception is mediated between what is real and what is virtual. On the other hand, another set of projections will be countering that experience: bursts of patterns of tiles, masked with Google image captures of Earth, will pulsate around the room as the silent beat of an imaginary musical score.

For Bravo, the skin --our skin-- is what translates these sensorial forms. For her, the body is the site where form and content develop an exchange, a dialogue, and where a balance between them is struck. Following this conceptual frame, the one who knows and understands the surface is the one who can experience the depths and the void. As Paul Valéry used to say, “the skin is the deepest thing there is.” But, at the same time, inspired by the mechanical and hallucinatory vision of a possible future where robots would see the world as a pixelated blur, Bravo uses technology to assemble a composite of pieces and particles--an animated puzzle of multiple and cracked realities--that allows the viewer to descend into a place where other possibilities --parallel realities and discoveries--exist.

Recently granted a commission by the MTA, Bravo has also begun to work with mosaics. After working many years with animations, projections, and installations, Bravo is now oscillating between ancient and contemporary technologies, between the eternal image on a wall and the fleeting projection on the screen, where a conversation of particles emerges between tesserae and pixels. Bravo is thus rewriting a new code between the two languages of weaving and mosaic-making, a code that connects together the elements of perception, illusion, time, technology, and the universal.

Text by Octavio Zaya