Jose Dávila works in a range of media—including sculpture, installation, collage and photography—to explore both material and form, often appropriating and re-contextualising history and architecture.Read More
Davila's works are both odes and critiques to the artists and architects that came before him, such as Luis Barragán and Donald Judd. In Davila's ongoing series 'Homage to the Square' Josef Albers' paintings, in which squares of different colours are nested one inside the other, are reinterpreted as three-dimensional mobiles of nested square frames. While Albers used his paintings to consider the interpretation of colours when viewed in relationship to each other, Dávila's work presents the square and its colours as an exploration of form and shadow, reinterpreting Albers' exploration as a sculptural pursuit.
In his deconstruction and reconstruction of art historical works, Dávila also explores strategies of reproduction and reiteration. In works such as Buildings You Must See Before You Die (2008) and Chronological history of sculpture (2013), the artist's photographs of famous buildings and monuments are cut out, such that the very building or sculpture or artwork that warranted the initial image is deleted from the picture plane. In one photograph for example, there is a bean-shaped absence in Chicago where Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate (2006) should be.
Initialling training as an architect, Dávila's work appears to demonstrate an interest in how objects situate themselves in space and time, and how context influences their being in the world. In September 2017, the artist's work Sense of Place—commissioned by LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division)—was unveiled. Initially a six-tonne cube of Tetris-like pieces the work was gradually disassembled into 40 individual pieces and moved through the city to 20 separate sites. In each new location the pieces became a sculpture whose function was decided by the community. By portioning out the sculpture and moving it through the range of Los Angeles' diverse landscapes, the layers of Los Angeles historically, geographically and socially were traversed. Later, the pieces were reunited in their original West Hollywood Park location. In Sense of Place—as well as Buildings You Must See Before You Die (2008) and Chronological history of sculpture (2013)—the space around the art and architecture becomes a core participant in and influencer of the art and architecture itself.
Dávila's works are included in major collections such as Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; the Zabludowicz Collection, London; and Mudam Luxembourg. He received the EFG ArtNexus Latin America Art Award in 2014.
Casey Carsel | Ocula | 2018