Tatiana Trouvé, Artur Lescher, and Margo Trushina "Alignments"

Alignments, the inaugural exhibition co-curated by Santiago R. Guggenheim and Claudia Paetzold featuring works by Tatiana Trouvé, Artur Lescher and Margo Trushina explores the human journey through both physical and metaphysical realms. Redefining the spatial and conceptual parameters of the art experience, the organic shapes and meandering expanses of IK LAB’s unique exhibition spaces immerse the visitor in a meditative state, serving as a gateway to discovery and connectedness.

Artur Lescher reveals an invisible spatial structure through the verticality of his suspended sculptures. In this redesigned space the visitor’s perception of matter is questioned by seemingly fluid floor based marble and basalt pieces unveiling infinity.

The relativity of perception is revealed in Margo Trushina’s works. The apparent solidity of rocks is transcended by undulating polished metal shapes projecting matter into movement, while the flickering neon dissolves the illusion of permanence of the bright white human outline. 

A 12 meter high adjacent dome built according to ancient principles of sacred geometry is reached through a passageway across a natural water flow. It houses Tatiana Trouve’s 250 Points Toward Infinity, 250 pendulums descending from the heights of the dome in diagonal lines pointing towards an intricate constellation on the ground as if directed by invisible hands. 

While dialoguing with the uneven floor and meanders of the first space the artworks operate as poetic gestures orchestrating an explorative journey, the installation in the dome becomes an invitation to meditate in the presence of a metaphoric union of heaven and earth. (Words and images via IK LAB)

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Scott Albrecht "A Forgiving Sunset"

A Forgiving Sunset exhibits Albrecht’s most recent body of work offering an evolved approach to his unique graphic languages. Largely rooted in typography, his work reconsiders the relationship of message and viewer. With each work being made up of dozens, sometimes several hundreds of individual pieces that are cut, sanded, painted and re-assembled, often at varied depths, the works shift the conversation to a more visual language of relationships starting with form and color.

The narratives of Scott’s work often pull from or reference his own experiences and distill them into a more universal interpretation to allow the viewer to relate their own experiences, and in turn showing how we are more connected by these shared events. Recalling the works in the exhibition he says: “The work for this show pulls from a range of experiences and inspirations over the last two years. A recurring point of reference in the work was the social climate and the growing gaps I was seeing among relationships — both on a cultural level as well as a personal level — and my own desire to return to something more connected. When I began this collection I developed a somewhat daily habit of listening to the poem, Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. Although it was originally written in 1927, it is, among many things, a fairly timeless call for empathy, compassion and understanding, which seems just as relevant and needed today as I’m sure it did when it was written.”

Among the works this influence plays out in various ways whether it’s showing the commonalities of our shared differences (e.g. “From You” light & dark), or referencing our own personal histories that inform our paths (e.g. “A Series of Moments”) these works are a call to moving forward in today's tumultuous times. The title of the exhibition, A Forgiving Sunset, serves as a metaphor for healing and starting anew. These references of intimate moments and larger societal events are built upon a common history, and these works are the artifacts of his individual experience that he is now sharing with the public. By personally reflecting on these larger themes, and distilling them into the work, he reveals one avenue of this interconnectedness.

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Rammellzee "Racing for Thunder"

It is impossible to speak of the equation known as The RAMM:ELL:ZEE without acknowledging the cypher that he was; an arsenal of contradictions conveyed through an unremitting verbal and creative flow. At once manic genius, prolific polymath, irascible overlord, charming hustler, quantum hobbyist, and incoherent madman; at the core, Rammellzee was a supreme myth-maker, one who makes sense of the senseless.

As a young graffiti writer and MC growing up in the urban miasma that was New York City in the 1970s, Rammellzee existed from the start as an outlier. Born of mixed African-American and Italian heritage, and raised in the projects of Far Rockaway, aka Rocky Far-Away—the isolated seaside  community stationed at the southern end of the A train—he bore his singular street identity as a mantle of the alien and otherworldly.

The official mythos begins with legal decree in 1979, abandoning his given name, and adopting the militaristic equation The RAMM:ELL:ZEE as his lawful moniker. It was also this year that Rammellzee penned the first of a series of complex, discursive, visionary manifestos detailing his ever-developing cosmology of Gothic Futurism and the concept of Ikonoklast Panzerism. Rammellzee perceived language as a structurally-flawed agent of an antagonistic societal operating system. He formulated an evolution of wildstyle lettering that would liberate, weaponize, and deploy the letter like an immune system response, circulating an attack on what he called contemporary “diseased culture” and the institutions of control.

Steadfast in his mission, Rammellzee advanced his mythos of Gothic Futurism through various arenas of power. After having earned a reputation as a seminal graffiti writer and MC by the early 1980s, he caught the attention of the contemporary art world, where he quickly ascended the ranks finding further opportunity and bedrock for the development of his ideologies. Where kinetic subway cars provided the viral methodology needed to distribute his burgeoning theories, the artworld of the 1980s—influential, wealthy, and eager to harness the vitality of authentic, New York graffiti writers—proved to be the vessel best suited to propel the war machine.

Over the next decade, he would produce, with unassailable acumen, a diverse and materially-rich body of work, much of which was quickly acquired and tucked away in collections throughout Europe. As the decade came to a close, the frequency of exhibitions and museum shows thinned. Conveniently, the mythos, poised for the next phase, had already begun work on what would become his magnum opus and the final leg of his corporeal mission.

By the early 1990s, the increasing density and complexity of Rammellzee’s epistemology necessitated a materialization of ideas and proliferation of personalities, made real through elaborate epoxy-driven assemblages and costumes.  His Tribeca loft, a sprawling, uncontainable construction known as the Battlestation, became the hangar for his fleet of Letter Racers, Monster Models, and Garbage Gods, all forged from the detritus of the local consuming class. In a schizophrenic gesture, Rammellzee himself fragmented into oppositional battalions of alien bookies and demi-god gangsters, tricked out with ornate robes, masks, and weaponry exquisitely crafted and engineered from garbage. Performing as these various identities, Rammellzee presented in its most complex and fully realized form the binary battle of opposition that pervaded his mythology.

RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder presents, for the first time, a diverse selection of artworks, music, writings, rare archival documentation, and ephemera, gathered from disparate sources around the world, to outline a chronology of this remarkably complicated artist. Told by the people closest to him, the collection of oral histories, recorded on site and presented throughout the exhibition, act as a shared history, framing Rammellzee’s influence and memorializing the man who inspired, compelled, and galvanized nearly every person he encountered. While enigmatic and esoteric, Rammellzee’s work is also premonitory, warning that language has been co-opted as a tool of social and political manipulation. It is safe to say that we are far closer to the beginning, than the end of measuring the full impact left by The RAMM:ELL:ZEE.

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Wiley Wallace "Stay Connected"

Playful and ambiguous, his luminous and ostensibly radioactive worlds suggest a metaphysical interest in the possibility of alternate realities: the endlessly shapeshifting and protean nature of fantasy at the intersection of the imagined and "real." Wallace's paintings combine realistic rendering with elements of the surreal, and near-magical references that include eerily cast light sources bordering on the supernatural. Playful and macabre, his works combine intense thematic contrasts between light and dark to achieve suspense and evasion.

Children are a recurring theme in his compositions, representing a kind of primordial link to something invisible and beyond comprehension, exempt from the rationalizations of the adult. Often using his own children as models, Wallace's narratives are open-ended, filled with suggestion and partial disclosures rather than forceful assertions or posited certainties. The themes of connection and communication resonate throughout Wallace's imagery, as the works' protagonists seem ever in search of fugitive contact. The skeleton is a recurring figure throughout Wallace's imagery as well, appearing at times as a sinister harbinger of some kind and at others as Halloween costume level kitsch.

Wallace's pieces convey a kind of sci-fi nostalgia harkening back to a Spielberg-era of extraterrestrial-themed filmmaking. At times their implied innocence and naiveté give way to darker and more dystopian readings, surfacing amidst the neon-hued glow.

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Juan Travieso "Entropy"

Juan Travieso creates visually complex worlds suspended in a state of fracture. Dismantled into seismic shards, these fragments are subject to the disorienting effects of constant spatial interruption. Combining a realist painting technique with surreal juxtapositions, spatial splicing, bright palettes, and geometric abstraction, Travieso conveys the textures of a universe in breach, distorted and split by its endless potential for loss. Fascinated by the extinction of countless endangered species and the often irrevocable influence of human intervention, Travieso presents the reality of a world in transition. His compositions often look like digitized renderings, informed by the awkward, artificial simultaneity of 3-D models, and devolve in moments to pixelated digital facsimiles, reminding us of the unavoidably temporal nature of disappearance.

Travieso was born in Havana, Cuba. He credits his love of color in his work to the scarcity of resources in his home country, a stark contrast to the sheer availability of art supplies and imagery in the US. Inspired by this profusion of access to information and paint colors, the artist has taken on a series dedicated to endangered bird species, capturing them on the cusp of imminent disappearance. In the works, their facets are compartmentalized into geometric patterns and their edges striated to dissolve into quasi-architectural grids. A requiem of sorts for the irremediably compromised state of our biodiversity, Travieso's paintings capture the cataclysmic energy of its decay and the transience of this biological exhaustion and loss, proposed in stark contrast to the permanent ambitions of the digital age. This re-articulation of environmental damage through the visual and graphic language of digital culture gets at the fundamental contradiction between the organic and the artificial, the finite and the infinite; the natural world is forever at odds with the perpetuity of artificial, manmade technologies.

As an activist and environmentalist, Travieso hopes that his dynamic works will draw attention to the ecological carelessness we've abetted and the necessity of our continued vigilance in the preservation of what's left. This compassion for the vulnerable and voiceless has clear political affinities for Travieso, relating to his personal experiences growing up in Communist Cuba where persecution for perceived dissent was a constant threat and the silencing of censorship unavoidable. Perhaps in keeping with this tendency to combine oppositions like freedom and constraint, Travieso depicts the lawlessness and diversity of nature at odds with the enforced geometry of human constructs.

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René Magritte "The Fifth Season"

When René Magritte reached his 40s, something unexpected happened. The painter, who had honed an iconic Surrealist style between 1926 and 1938, suddenly started making paintings that looked almost nothing like his earlier work. First he adopted an Impressionist aesthetic, borrowing the sweet, hazy palette of Pierre-Auguste Renoir―which he described as “sunlit Surrealism.” Then his style shifted again, incorporating popular imagery, the brash colors of Fauvism and the gestural brushwork of Expressionism. And then Magritte returned to his classic style as if nothing had happened.

René Magritte: The Fifth Season looks at the art Magritte made during and after the stylistic crises of the 1940s, revealing his shifting attitudes toward painting. Subjects explored in this volume include the artist’s Renoir period; the période vache, with its Fauvist- and Expressionist-style paintings that are little known to American audiences; the “hypertrophy of objects” paintings, a series that plays with the scale of familiar objects; and the enigmatic Dominion of Lightsuite, paintings that suggest the simultaneous experience of day and night.

Featuring full-color plates of approximately 50 oil paintings, and a dozen of the artist’s gouaches, René Magritte: The Fifth Season offers a new understanding of Magritte’s special position in the history of 20th-century art.

In a career of almost half a century, Belgian Surrealist René Magritte (1898–1967) probed the distance between object, language and image. Even as he playfully explored new styles, his painting practice remained consistent in its cautionary message not to equate the observable world with reality in all its fullness.

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Celeste Byers “La Cabesa” Sculpture in Tulum Jungle

"Collaboration between Aaron Glasson and myself in the jungle of Tulum, México. Tulum was once a part of the Mayan empire but was one of the first points of contact for the Europeans who invaded and colonized Mexico. Our sculpture is based on a Mayan prophecy that says their ancestors are waiting underground for the right time when their ancient powers will return. We created one of the ancestors peeking their head up out of the ground. Vining plants will be planted around it so that eventually the head will have plants and moss growing on it. Our head was crafted by 11 talented artisans in just 4 days and you can find it at Holistika Tulum. Feel free to go hang out in it! It fits many people. Thank you Residencia Gorila, Tulum Art Club, and Luis' team of workers who kept us company in the jungle and tried to teach us some of their Mayan language". - Celeste Byers

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Amy Lincoln "Sun, Moon, Stars"

Lincoln is a committed figurative painter with a bent towards the surreal, making works that depict the world and then give way to a certain slow-burning abstraction and symbolism. At face value her oeuvre features closely observed representations of plants and other elements of the natural world:  ocean, sand, sun, moon, clouds, mountains, and volcanos. To render these the artist relies on sources ranging from the familiar (Lincoln’s own backyard), to the splendid (elaborate botanical gardens), to the virtual (images found on the internet), adeptly weaving together disparate imagery to create fantastic worlds rooted in the real.

Lincoln’s hard-earned painterly language, marked by opaque planes of keyed up color, graphic clarity, and flattened pictorial space, brings a somewhat cartoonish quality to each landscape, highlighting the otherworldliness of the forms depicted and inviting entry into almost alien worlds. Playfulness abounds, but it is also a smokescreen for a latent, more complex psychological content. The paintings’ insistence on formal repetition (gently pulsing light gradients and repeating motifs of leaves, stars, clouds) asks the viewer to slow down during the experience of looking and take in each compositional twist and turn. Plants take on uncanny anthropomorphic qualities and seem to exert their will on the structure of the image, competing with and complementing one another as if characters on a stage. This exhibition finds Lincoln deftly threading the needle between the familiar and strange, beauty and mystery.

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