For this solo exhibition, No Way Out, at Röda Sten Konsthall, Ríos will present a selection of six of recent video works, where stories involving landscapes, animals and objects symbolically articulate and comment upon current geopolitical issues such as immigration, trafficking, poverty, ideas of progress, despair and violence.
In the 1970s, Miguel Angel Ríos escaped the military dictatorship in Argentina and emigrated to Mexico and United States. Central to many of his works is the critique of manmade divisions, borders and discrimination.
There is a haunting sense of urgency in the poetic juxtapositions of nature, movement and matter in the work of Miguel Angel Ríos. The restless and sometimes anguished actions of the protagonists suggest an attempt to escape from an imminent danger or threat, the source of which remains off-screen and not revealed to the spectator. With the choice of striking settings and situations, Rios creates real and symbolic narratives of resistance to forms of political, cultural and geographical forms of domination. The charged poignancy and dramaturgy of his works renders them both particular and universal.
No Way Out includes the following video works:
White Stones, . Single-Channel Video. Duration: 5 min.
Thousands of solid white balls rapidly roll down the side of a mountain. They follow existing paths determined by the erosion caused by the streams of water in the desert mountain landscape, but they are also subject to chance. As the white stones proliferate and begin to pile up, we can’t but wonder if we are witnessing a rapidly unfolding and catastrophic event.
Landlocked, , Single-Channel Video. Duration: 5 min.
Dogs of the high mountains from the Andes foothills dig through a wall of sand and soil, only to arrive to another border, the ocean. The video Landlocked pursues the desire to reach the other side.
Mules, , Single-Channel Video. Duration: 6 min.
The video records the journey of two mules walking along narrow trails and uncharted open territories, across mountains and deserts. Unaware of the contents of their load, the mules follow a path that may lead to their own demise. In Spanish slang, the term "mulas" (mules) refers to traffickers recruit to illegally transport across frontiers.
The Ghost of Modernity (Leached), , Single-Channel Video. Duration: 5 min.
The Ghost of Modernity (The Three Marias), , Single-Channel Video. Duration: 4 min.
In both videos, a transparent cube floats above a landfill, revealing the contradictions inherent in the project of modernity. “Is this ghostly geometric figure a lens through which the world can be reinterpreted? Are we inside or outside the cube?” the artist asks.
Mecha (Wick), . Two channel video. Duration: 8 min.
Mecha (Wick) is based on a popular game played in Colombia called "tejo". The game consists in throwing a thick metal disc at a target made of powerful firecrackers embedded at the center of a wet clay wall. To score, the thrown metal discs should detonate the firecrackers. Mecha is a free interpretation of this game as a theater of war.
About Miguel Angel Ríos:
Miguel Angel Ríos was born 1943 in Catamarca, Argentina. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since the early 2000s, Ríos has delved into the medium of video, creating symbolic narratives about human experience, violence and mortality. Miguel Angel Ríos has an extensive list of group and solo shows, and his works are represented in several major collections including Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York, USA; Daros Latinamerica Collection, Zürich, Switzerland; Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogotá, Colombia; Fundación Arte y Mecenazgo, Barcelona, Spain; Museo de Arte Latinoamericano, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, USA; La Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France; Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; Pérez Art Museum Miami, USA; Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA and the Phoenix Art Museum, USA. Lives in Mexico City and New York.