09.05.2020 - 10.10.2020
SANGREE’s artistic practice is distinguished by a rich visual language that has allowed them to navigate the multiple layers of art history, historical sites, scientific curiosities, unexplained events and mythical narratives with a peculiar wit and sense of humor. These interests have been translated into two large archives: one photographic and another one of drawing, reflecting in each of them their own language of translation and interpretation of the wonders and horrors of the official and unofficial history of mankind. These archives work as the basis for projects in different media and further research.
The projects they choose to undertake are usually accompanied by a serious interest in the materiality that shapes them, in a constant search to relate format, technique and aesthetics in a symbolic composition strategy that expresses the narratives that each piece contains, ranging from traditional techniques and craft processes to large-scale architectural installations. Examples such as RING BELL SUN 21 EARTH, for which they found inspiration in an obscure Latvian immigrant and his theory on electromagnetism, which led them to experiment and produce a series of weightless pulverized newspaper sculptures that simulate the texture of rocks, while referring to minimalist geometric forms associated with mysticism and spirituality. Or Codex, a tattooed sculpture with images from their drawing archive; the anthropomorphic figure carved in stone is based on a pre-Hispanic sculpture located in the National Museum of History and Anthropology in Mexico City, in both sculptures the tattoos are a chronicle that reflects the temporal context in which they were carved.
Many of their works have an aesthetic character that seems to reveal information about some kind of unknown civilization or extraterrestrial knowledge. An experience close to being in front of an archaeological finding, without knowing precisely to which temporality the object belongs. To locate ourselves, they provide us with clues through the cultural elements that appear with these objects: symbols of popular culture, brand logos, geometries from the past, everyday objects… components that play the role of appropriation with which they manipulate History, relativizing its temporality.
Burnt Stuff invites us to explore a new material facet of the collective: ceramics. The title of the exhibition refers to the Greek term keramos, which the Greeks used to designate all the artifacts made from fired clay. In turn, keramos comes from a Sanskrit root meaning to burn. This is how the Greeks used it to speak of the burned thing, or scorched earth, to refer to the products obtained from the action of firing soil materials.
Under this direct interaction with the materials, together with a studio practice intensified by lockdown, is that SANGREE is able to conjugate characters, typographies, graphic abstractions and logos —their own and those of others— with the different symbolic implications and the historical resonance of the act of burning soil. The result is a series of pieces that recognize the fundamental role of ceramics in the creation of idols, artifacts and tools throughout history, and at the same time revalue their utilitarian character. Thus strengthening the idea of conceiving SANGREE also as a brand and their work as products or goods such as those presented today in PEANA.
The weaving of historical meta-appropriations is reflected in pieces such as Slavic Vessel, a totem vase cut in half and held in a dubious balance, like an infant wearing blue adidas pants. This piece invites us, with a sense of humor, to generate an obvious auratic relationship with the mass-produced products, while making a comment on the pre-Hispanic classic sculptures displayed in museums, which are generally seen in gray or raw tones, when in fact they were polychrome. In the same way, we recognize the NIKE swoosh integrated to the design of a classic amphora as its handles, or in Cortez, referring to the first shoe designed for running by the NIKE brand. The piece combines the vernacular figure of the ceramics in the shape of a dove, using the swoosh as its wings. We can also find pieces branded with the name of the collective, vases covered with the double EE, or an unusual spiral figure that reminds us of the emoji of smiling poo, covered in its entirety by the signature of the collective reaffirming the notion of its creative identity.
Since the beginning of their collaboration, a little more than a decade ago, to consider SANGREE as a brand runs parallel to the intention of eliminating the idea of an individual author or artist and to give priority to the creation of a collective identity. In this way, the name SANGREE resounds on the walls of the gallery in such a strident way that it gives us the impression of entering a store, but at the same time so camouflaged, between the geometries of space and the pedestals, that it settles in our minds almost without us noticing. The typography on the walls is the sign that becomes the pattern on the surface of the pieces, and that in turn becomes the symbol of everything that SANGREE represents.