Adriana Lara

The Future

November 9 – January 20, 2017

Greenspon is pleased to present The Future, Mexico-City based artist Adriana Lara’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. On view are new bodies of work which include: Carbon Copy, large scale carbon-paper silkscreens that picture both analog and digital reproduction technologies; The Hip Recycler / The Poor Collector, outsized plastic shopping bags filled with coded items; and a trio of painting-like objects that relate to Interesting Theory #57, the latest in the iterative Interesting Theory series. Lara’s “theories” are perpetuated by a mysterious formula of her own design, a conceptual conceit that is part Cagean chance operation, part wry resistance to the churning out of artistic genius. Finally, The Future (Pre-Columbian/Post-Columbian) is a pair of black, reflective, palm-sized objects. Reminiscent of the latest iPhone, they both capture the eye and beckon the finger. Taken together, these works comment on the glut of information, materials, and waste that fuel global capitalism, and how that system insinuates itself in the production of knowledge.

The Future encompasses several of Lara’s ongoing lines of inquiry: around the circulation and mutation of information, the homogenization of culture, old and new technologies, and the environment. Interesting Theory #57 nets these together. The “theories” first appeared in 2010 and have been executed on various surfaces and supports. Technically, each theory is a set of interlocking and overlapping shapes that evolves out of a previous set of shapes. Lara extracts a shape from within the set that she numbers and employs as the “rule” for a new series of pieces. Conceptually, the project points to the evolution of knowledge, with each new idea born of the intersection of previous ideas and shaped by its contextual, temporal conditions. #57 uses the gallery space as support, onto which a vinyl drawing spreads across the floor and continues up the wall; it feels both flat and three-dimensional, a quality echoing the odd presence of digital space. Diet Coke cans are randomly placed across the drawing, which Lara makes available for visitors to drink and leave behind as part of the work. This interactive gesture was inspired by a religious congregation in San Juan Chamula in Chiapas, who have grafted together Indigenous and Catholic ceremonies to create a hybridized service that includes, among other rituals, the exuberant ingestion of Coca-Cola. #57’s intersection of art, culture, and commerce, and the mutated form that it spawned, is a central theme in Lara’s practice.

The Future (Pre-Columbian/Post-Columbian) encapsulates this process. The slick-surfaced, lozenge-like shape appears to be an iPhone X. a hyper-designed product that is both powerful microcomputer as well as bodily extension; a practical tool as much as implement for narcissism; either a beacon of light or a black, reflective oddity. With each generation the iPhone has become increasingly streamlined and anthropomorphized, and Lara’s Future reveals how closely the latest version resembles Pe-Columbian Mesoamerican mirrors, which were made from highly polished black obsidian stone. These were used not only for vanity but also had mystical, near religious applications, said to reveal the beholder’s inner truths. Lara asks her viewer to recognize how the commingling of technology and spirituality, ancient and modern, south and north, first and third worlds operates and appears in her work, and is also embedded in our everyday activities and exchanges. While she cleverly manipulates information and materials, often to comedic effect, The Future skirts the dystopian edges.