OMR is pleased to announce Gabriel Rico's first solo exhibition in the gallery, I May Use an Electric Drill, But I Also Use a Hammer, whose title contemplates the possibility of finding two different solutions to a specific problem; it suggests that the act of driving a screw or nail into a wall can be solved by the use of either tool. The exhibition presents an ambitious installation on the first floor composed of various individual artworks and elements that when placed together function as a whole unity, although with a rupture of two distinct facets due to the artist's development and use of augmented reality tools to complement the viewer's experience.
The first facet of the installation is related to Rico's research into Leibnizian Relationism and relies on the presence of the visitor/spectator in the space, as well as their interaction and assimilation into the environment by using their own senses to approach and explore the physical artworks through human-perceived reality. The second facet is related to Reichenbachian Relationism and can only be appreciated with the use of augmented reality, presented here by the artist as a potentialiser of the senses – namely those of sight and hearing. These two facets of the same installation agree perfectly within a certain space-time plane, bringing together both the physical and virtual elements of the installation, completing the experience and altering the metaphysical sense of the exhibition.
When viewing the installation through the tools of augmented reality, speech bubbles begin to emerge from the artworks, and a dialogue appears between the main protagonists – a deer and an oryx, both having their antlers adorned with varying sizes and colours of sports balls. The two taxidermied animals recite a conversation between Austrian literary scholar Klaus Amann and Austrian sociologist Karin Knorr Cetina taken from Knorr Cetina's Epistemic Cultures: How the Sciences Make Knowledge, (Knorr Cetina, K. , Harvard University Press). All the while, a digitally-rendered fox curiously traverses the scene scrutinizing all the elements in the space and interacting with them, oblivious to the presence of the viewer. The illusion is concluded when a virtual halo of fire is seen to emerge from brass and neon sculptures that represent the main geometric figures (a triangle, circle, and square), symbolising the power of fire and the importance of sacred knowledge.
On the gallery's second floor, Gabriel Rico proposes a new series of works meticulously crafted in hand carved cedar wood and finished in oil paints. The sculptures are complex agglomerations of familiar imagery and motifs from Rico's work and objects from everyday contemporary life: types of sports balls; a palm tree; at-bone steak; a skull; a bottle of Coca-Cola; knives; cacti; etc. In play with these sculptures are a recent series of bi-dimensional artworks made in a traditional technique known as 'Nierika,' in which images are created by spreading beeswax on wooden boards and pressing in hand-painted yarn designs – a technique crafted by the Wixárikas or Huicholes in San Andrés Cohamiata, a village in the middle of a mountain range in the north of the state of Jalisco, Mexico. The works in this series present a narrative from different moments throughout the exhibition, bringing the visual aesthetic of Rico's sculptures into a bi-dimensional format.
In some way, the digitisation of the material world presents a new panorama through which dreams can be shaped; and that is how the digital and material worlds come together to form an augmented reality, which is determined by material and digital influences. Respectively, a process similar to the trance state in which shamans undergo to connect the spiritual world with the physical world.
Press release courtesy Galería OMR.