Sicardi Gallery is pleased to announce that Melanie Smith and Clarissa Tossin are featured in the 2014-2015 SITE Santa Fe biennial, Sitelines. This year's biennial is titled Unsettled Landscapes: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas, and is curated by Candice Hopkins, Lucía Sanromán, Janet Dees, and Irene Hofmann.
Unsettled Landscapes looks at the urgencies, political conditions and historical narratives that inform the work of contemporary artists across the Americas – from Nunavut to Tierra del Fuego. Through three themes – landscape, territory, and trade – this exhibition expresses the interconnections among representations of the land, movement across the land, and economies and resources derived from the land.
Melanie Smith’s experimental, documentary-style film Fordlandia, 2014, is a poetic meditation on the artist’s voyage to a factory town established in the middle of the Amazon rainforest in the 1920s by the Ford Motor Company. The automaker’s ambition was to provide the largest supply of rubber in the world. Henry Ford never visited the region, and the project was a spectacular failure, for reasons that range from the lack of understanding of the local conditions to a changing market for natural rubber. In Smith’s film, the colonial gaze of modernity is quietly disrupted by the vitality of nature.
Many of Clarissa Tossin’s works are concerned with what could be called a topography of place. Here she documents the remains of Henry Ford’s rubber enterprise Fordlândia, built in 1928, and the nearby village of Belterra, constructed in 1935 to house local workers. Ford built in the Brazilian Amazon to import cultivated rubber for the booming automobile industry. With his rubber trees dead to disease, and his workforce subject to rigid U.S. customs, his enterprise went bust within a few short years. Ford never faulted his narrow vision for this failure; he blamed the inhospitable Brazilian landscape. When two places look alike contrasts houses in Belterra with those of Alberta, Michigan, a town designed by Ford in 1935. Despite their physical distance and differing climates, the houses are remarkably similar, and they also share a history laden with ideology.
SITELINES 2014 TEAM Curatorial Team: Candice Hopkins, Curator (b. Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada; lives in Albuquerque) Lucía Sanromán, Curator (b. Guadalajara, Mexico; lives in Mexico City) Janet Dees, Curator of Special Projects (b. New York; lives in Santa Fe) Irene Hofmann, SITElines Director (b. New York; lives in Santa Fe)
Satellite Curatorial Advisors Christopher Cozier (b. Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; lives in Port of Spain) Inti Guerrero (b. Bogota, Colombia; lives in Costa Rica and Singapore) Julieta Gonzalez (b. Caracas, Venezuela; lives in Mexico City) Eva Grinstein (b. Buenos Aires, Argentina; lives in Buenos Aires) Kitty Scott (b. St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada; lives in Toronto)
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