For his new commission at SculptureCenter, Rafael Domenech creates a large-scale modular installation in the ground floor gallery. Responding to the conditions of the exhibition space as a former trolley repair shop, Domenech uses the building’s existing structure, in particular the tracks of an industrial gantry system, as a machine to produce and facilitate the work. Working with materials typically destined for construction sites, the work engages with the urban vernacular of the rapidly growing neighborhood of Long Island City.
Depending on the time and purpose of encounter with Domenech’s exhibition, the installation functions simultaneously at multiple levels: as a sculpture, a decentered architectural model, a pavilion, and a venue for public programs and gatherings. As such, the work acknowledges the varied possibilities and promises of contemporary art institutions. By installing large panels made of aluminum framed construction mesh the artist creates what he calls “space modulators” that create multiple architectural configurations. Domenech considers the book as a standardized unit, organizational mechanism and an architectural device. This is further articulated by the artist’s research in concrete poetry as a strategy to suggest different ways of handling and approaching a book according to the direction and the distribution of sentences on the page. In addition, the installation includes elements from Domenech’s work previously installed in the SculptureCenter exhibition Searching the Sky for Rain, as well as parts from Las Palabras son Muros [Pavilion for Astoria], his recent outdoor pavilion at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City. Addressing an economy of means in his production, the artist shows how artwork exists in the ecology of a practice at the intersection of studio, institution, and urban space.
Rafael Domenech was born in 1989 in Havana, Cuba. Domenech’s work utilizes and explores notions of architecture, urban design, and contemporary material production as research tactics for the production of different typologies of objects and spaces. His work has been exhibited at SculptureCenter; Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City; The Bass Museum, Miami Beach; Phillip and Patricia Frost Art Museum, Miami; Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; Artium Museum, Vitoria, Spain; Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami; and The Rockefeller Foundation, New York. He was the recipient of an award from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Tulsa Artist Fellowship, and the Cintas Fellowship. He holds an MFA from Columbia University.