Luis Gispert Love Like Salt
Morán Morán is pleased to announce Luis Gispert’s first exhibition at our Mexico City location, titled Love Like Salt. With six oil paintings and a video installation, the artist expands on the film and photographic work for which he is well known. Gispert’s imagery leans theatrical through his particular approach of revealing cultural iconography in a vivid almost futuristic way, simultaneously seductive and uneasy. Each artwork, regardless of medium, is a visual chapter positing open-ended narratives that resonate as pop-culture elegies.
Love Like Salt provocatively employs heavy symbolism that factors alongside the school of realism in painting, replete with its own history. Through Gispert’s haunting depictions we have the visual connotation inherent with boats on the water (voyage, uncertainty, and wanderlust), themes of ruin, as well as the sinking ship idiom. These paintings undoubtedly suggest a story but there is a good measure left to the imagination as we observe the dramatic destruction or slow demise of different types of boats at various stages of succumbing to nature. However, through all this we can regard these moments frozen midway between the best intention and the worst outcome, left to wonder what it all means and also the exquisiteness of suspended inevitability.
As a species, we have gotten to the point where we can’t enjoy nature without an intervention. We can hardly experience the natural world without one of our human creations to transport us there. We travel to remote places in vehicles: bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trains, airplanes, and now spaceships. It’s a paradox – to receive what nature offers us, we need to rely on machines. This reliance on machines creates a tension between having and letting go. It creates a desire to claim the experience as our own. The truth is that ownership is not possible. The land and the sea will always repossess its territory through natural processes, images being our only lasting way to memorialize these moments – a painting or a camera preserving our memories. These works capture our misguided desire to experience, and own, a piece of nature. The more we progress and penetrate the natural world, the more it will push back. Eventually, we’ll realize that we have to surrender to truly receive.
– Luis Gispert, New York, 2021
Morán Morán se complace en anunciar la primera exposición de Luis Gispert en nuestra ubicación de la Ciudad de México, titulada Love Like Salt. Con seis óleos sobre lino y una videoinstalación, el artista amplía el trabajo cinematográfico y fotográfico por el que es conocido. Las imágenes de Gispert se inclinan hacia lo teatral a través de su particular aproximación de revelar la iconografía cultural de manera vívida, casi futurista, a la vez seductora e incómoda. Cada obra de arte, independientemente del medio, es un capítulo visual que postula narrativas abiertas que resuenan como elegías de la cultura pop.
Love Like Salt emplea de manera provocativa un fuerte simbolismo que se suma a la escuela del realismo en la pintura, repleta de su propia historia. A través de las inquietantes representaciones de Gispert llega la connotación visual inherente que provoca la imagen de los barcos en el agua (viaje, incertidumbre y pasión por los viajes), temas de ruina, así como el idioma del barco hundiéndose. Indudablemente, estas pinturas sugieren una historia, pero de esta queda una buena medida a la imaginación mientras se observa la dramática destrucción o la lenta desaparición de diferentes tipos de barcos sucumbiendo a la naturaleza en distintas etapas. Sin embargo, a través de todo esto podemos contemplar estos momentos congelados a medio camino entre la mejor intención y el peor desenlace, cosa que nos deja preguntándonos qué significa todo esto, y también pensando en la exquisitez de la inevitabilidad suspendida.
Como especie, hemos llegado al punto en el que no podemos disfrutar de la naturaleza sin algún tipo de intervención. Difícilmente podemos experimentar el mundo natural sin una de nuestras creaciones humanas que nos transporte allí. Viajamos a lugares remotos en vehículos: bicicletas, motocicletas, automóviles, trenes, aviones y ahora naves espaciales. Es una paradoja: para recibir lo que nos ofrece la naturaleza, debemos confiar en las máquinas. Esta dependencia de las máquinas crea una tensión entre tener y dejar ir. Crea un deseo de reclamar la experiencia como propia. La verdad es que la propiedad no es posible. La tierra y el mar siempre recuperarán su territorio a través de procesos naturales, siendo las imágenes nuestra única forma duradera de conmemorar estos momentos: una pintura o una cámara preservando nuestros recuerdos. Estas obras capturan nuestro deseo equivocado de experimentar y poseer un pedazo de la naturaleza. Cuanto más avancemos y penetremos en el mundo natural, más retrocederá. Con el tiempo, nos daremos cuenta de que tenemos que rendirnos para recibir de verdad.
– Luis Gispert, Nueva York, 2021
DatesSeptember 21 - October 23, 2021
Opening ReceptionTuesday, September 21, 6-8pm
LocationAV. HORACIO 1022, POLANCO
MIGUEL HIDALGO 11550
CIUDAD DE MÉXICO
DASHCAM – Dash Snow: Photographs of LifeCurated By Matthew Higgs
Morán Morán is pleased to announce DASHCAM – Dash Snow: Photographs of Life, the gallery’s first solo exhibition of works by Dash Snow (1981-2009). The exhibition is guest-curated by Matthew Higgs, the director and chief curator of White Columns, New York. DASHCAM is the first exhibition to focus on Snow’s black-and-white 35mm photography, perhaps the least represented aspect of a mercurial practice that embraced collage, assemblage, photography, sculpture, installation, graffiti, and ‘zines.
Despite an abundance of, and often sensationalized, media commentary over the past two decades, Dash Snow remains an elusive figure. In Cheryl Dunn’s resonant documentary about Dash’s life, Moments Like This Never Last (2020), the actor, artist, and curator Leo Fitzpatrick perhaps best articulates the conundrum that is Dash Snow: “He was so many different things to so many different people that it’s really hard to understand him as a complete person, because you only got one part of it, whereas somebody else might have got another part. That’s why I think it’s interesting to try to do this film, to piece it all together, to try to explain, honestly, your best version of who you believe he is.”
Fitzpatrick’s commentary could equally apply to Snow’s work and also to his identity as an artist. Self-taught, in the sense that he lacked a formal art education, Snow was nonetheless a product of a highly-cultured and aesthetic milieu. He personified a – likely unprecedented – collision of rarified uptown manners, as represented by his maternal grandmother, Marie-Christophe De Menil, with the downtown sensibilities of his peers, including Kunle F. Martins and the IRAK graffiti crew. From these seemingly contradictory, or perhaps even antagonistic impulses, Snow emerged as a determinedly singular figure, whose work in the early part of the new century mirrored the social rupture of a post-9/11 New York, whilst simultaneously negotiating his own, often conflicted, circumstances.
These tensions – between a private reality and a public identity – are perhaps best articulated in Snow’s black-and-white 35mm photography. If Snow’s better-known visceral color Polaroid images amplify the choreographed chaos of his social life, often with a sly and comedic eye, his black-and-white images articulate instead a more personal and introspective worldview.
An early working title for this exhibition was I Am a Camera (derived from the opening of Christopher Isherwood’s 1939 novel Goodbye to Berlin). The exhibition’s eventual title DASHCAM, like Isherwood’s line, suggests the notion of an uncritical, all-seeing eye. Isherwood’s precise phrase is: “I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.” Of course we know that photography is never a passive objective form, its subjective impulses are always present and embedded in every image; so it is with Snow’s black-and-white photographs. It is perhaps tempting to read the intimacy brokered in many of these images as a faithful, documentary account – “evidence” of a sort. Yet, as with the work of artists such as Larry Clark or Nan Goldin, Snow possessed an uncanny ability to be simultaneously present and – through the agency of the camera’s lens – removed from what he depicted.
The selected images in DASHCAM explore various ideas of ‘self’ (both in front of and behind the camera), ‘family’ (Dash, his partner Jade, and their infant daughter Secret), ‘community’ (sometimes with narcotic undertones), and ‘nature’ (the urban pastoral). Like generations of artist-photographers before him, Snow was drawn to the nocturnal, to the margins, to those peripheral moments between night and day, between dark and light; an idea literalized in the image Untitled (Stairs), 2007, that shows a figure emerging from a subterranean realm into the redemptive Californian sun. Cumulatively, these images might be understood as a ‘self-portrait’ but they are also, inevitably, a negation of the self – perhaps Snow’s best version of who he believed he was. Given the artist’s untimely death in 2009, at the age of 27, it might be tempting to read these images as a form of memento mori, a kind of visual lament. Yet such a reading, to my mind, never really adheres. There is too much empathy and too much living on display in Snow’s photographs. Instead, these images suggest, to me at least, a sense of melancholic optimism: a sense of the possibilities, the potential and the realities of life.
– Matthew Higgs, September 2021
Matthew Higgs would like to thank Jade Berreau, Dan Colen, Al Morán, and Mills Morán for the invitation to organize this exhibition.
DatesSeptember 25 - October 19, 2021
Opening ReceptionSaturday, September 25, 6-8pm
Location641 N. Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90004