Héctor Zamora

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Group Exhibition: In Suspension
Year: 2012
Place: ESPAI D'Art Contemporani de Castelló (EACC)
Curated by Iria Candela

Artworks:

Revoltón, 2012
80 fragments of ceramic vaults

Zuncho, 2012
21 fragments of thermal clay lintels

Botellero, 2012
22 five-hole bottle racks

Escalón, 2012
16 fragments of steps

Teja curva, de la serie circunferencias, 2009 - 2012
71 roof tiles

6 de la serie potencialidades, 2009 - 2012
63 fragments of six-hole brick

swiss modul tropicalizado, 2010 - 2012
220 Swiss Modul bricks


In the particular case of Héctor Zamora, the reflection on architectural
and urban development processes has been expressed through the use of
two basic construction materials: the tile and the brick. Plan (2009) features
almost one hundred roof tiles arranged in a circle on the ground. As if
it were a Constructivist artefact, the piece displays for the spectator the
faktura of the tile, that is, its specific proper ties (clay composition, reddish
colour, concave shape), as well as its tektonika or physical presence in a
given space. As it is known, the legacy of Suprematism and Constructivism
— and, by extension, of the De Stijl and the Bauhaus — was adopted in
Latin America in the form of several abstract geometrisms starting in the
1930s and 40s.20 Zamora himself, who lives and works in São Paulo, has
stated that Concretism and Neoconcretism have influenced his work.
The piece Plan clearly shows this influence of the old and new avantgardes,
whose interest in the geometrical form was always framed within a broader
agenda that aspired to transform everyday life with affordable and widely
available production materials — and through the application of their
emerging aesthetic language to all artistic and industrial disciplines.
But Zamora is aware that this geometrical tradition has been subject to
revisions and critiques, and rather than paying homage to it, he has
chosen to expand it with new plastic investigations. For instance, when
facing a piece such as 6 de la serie de potencialidades (2009), it is hard
not to think of the philosophical proposals of deconstruction as they have
been expressed in art, architecture and graphic design in these past few
years. In this work Zamora takes the brick, the quintessential construction
element, and decomposes it into 63 small par ts. In deconstructing this
“basic unit” into numerous particles he not only shows the inter nal
and divisive structure of the brick, but also suggests its potential to be
rearranged. The brick is turned into a structure that must be examined
from within and where several interrelated modules coexist. Just as
deconstruction argues that the meaning of a text is always confor med
by several opposing meanings that struggle to impose themselves and
dominate the others,Zamora, by arranging the various pieces ver tically
on the wall, proves that the brick is not an indivisible and “natural” unity,
but a construction susceptible of being examined and rearranged as the
artist wishes.
The works Zuncho, Escalón and Botellero, all from 2012, offer variations
on the same theme. Starting from a specific typology of industrial material
(the titles of the works derive from the name with which these typologies
are labelled in building supply brochures), Zamora generates a specific
rhythmic arrangement and gives this earthenware piece a function
different from the one it was originally designed for. Thus, the function
of the brick and the tile changes radically: these materials become
elements of artistic creation rather than units of architectural construction.
Rearranged into new compositions (like the musicians at the end of
Cruzada), the pieces are installed on the walls, suspended in the air,
to produce forms that look like signs of a coded language or like notes
flowing animatedly on a sheet of experimental music.
The primordial construction material, now arranged geometrically,
deconstructed or reorganised, helps Zamora establish a new relationship
between the phenomena of chaos and control. The ar tist started
experimenting with roof tiles and bricks in 2009 when he was working in
a studio in São Paulo from which he could obser ve the daily progressive
reconfiguration of a neighbourhood that used to be a favela. Like Apóstol,
Zamora was interested in the process of the unregulated and chaotic
development and arrangement of the urban fabric. This process, in fact,
was the inspiration for his work Swiss Modul Tropicalizado presented in
Basel in 2010. Built with around 220 Swiss bricks, commercially produced
under the name Swiss Modul, the sculpture recreates an imaginar y city
where the expansion of “buildings” of different height and length is the
result of chance and random choices. The piece, in the words of the ar tist,
is a “tropicalisation”23 of Swiss order; it subjects the “controlled” structure
to a process of improvisation that creates a tension in its compositional
form — thus reflecting on the imprecise and disordered way in which
megacities grow nowadays on a global scale.
Revoltón, also produced this year, puts into play the organic expansion of
the red piece of clay — which Zamora now conceives as a material with
“extraordinary flexibility”24 — and uses it to explore the by now fuzzy
boundary between grid and curvature, rigidity and modulation, control
and randomness. Zamora had already worked with versatile and organic
materials to generate spatial tension in three other installations. One of
his first interventions, Pneu (2003), created for Galería Garash in Mexico
City, was an enormous inflatable red plastic tube, 130 metres long and 2
metres in diameter, which occupied the indoor space of the galler y and
overflowed the exhibition room when inflated, as if it were an organism
growing out from the insides of the building.
In his installation Enjambre de dirigibles (2009), created for
the 53rd Venice Biennale, Zamora stuck a
gigantic dirigible in a narrow street of the Arsenale, giving the spectators
the sensation that the dirigible was about to explode. And in Delirios
atópicos (2009), he filled two apartments in office buildings in the centre
of Bogotá with bananas to the point that these were pushing out of the
windows of both spaces, once again promoting a high tension between
architecture and nature. “The energy of the natural, of the organic, that
needs to push out and grow, literally violates the inner space,” the artist
noted once. “It escapes and comes out onto the street in order to activate
the public space”.
In the installation N S E O NE NO SE SO (2009), Zamora once again
uses inflatable material. In this case it is eight orange plastic sleeves, such
as those found in roads and airpor ts to show the direction of the wind.
Each windsock marks a different direction (north, south, east, west…)
creating an impossible situation: the wind blowing in ever y direction
at once. The subtitle of the installation — “Veiled, sinuous and abusive
exercise of power” — reasserts that this is neither a joke nor a mere
formalistic exercise. The physical tension of this ar t work makes explicit
the antidemocratic exertions of power that manipulate people with false
justifications: “That is what politicians, banks, oil companies or food
manufacturers are doing,” Zamora has remarked. “They play with us and
point in the direction we must follow, even though they are just lies or
errors that benefit the interests of a chosen few ”.

Iria Candela

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Books
Paracaidista, av. Revolución 1608bis/Intervención de Héctor Zamora


World´s best new art: Unreal Projects, edited by Gerorg Leutner publiqued by: Verlag Fur Moderne Kunts Numberg



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