MIAMI — Nina Johnson is pleased to announce its participation in the Independent Brussels (April 19-23, 2017). On view will be a two-person booth featuring prints by Jonas Mekas and new sculptures by Nicolas Lobo. The two artists both approach themes of chemical culture and withdrawal from society into nature.
In a black-painted booth, a new body of film stills produced by Mekas will be arranged in a broken grid (a pattern designed by Lobo) that suggests an imperfect, non-linear sense of memory. The idyllic images, taken from the “Tim’s Place” scene of his seminal film Walden (1969), capture an innocent, prelapsarian world—a world of children and animals, far away from turmoil of contemporary life. That said, the film was shot at the Connecticut home of Timothy Leary—the counterculture guru and proponent of psychedelics—and as such is a document of the tumultuous social politics of the time.
In the center of the booth, a glass table holds a series of glazed, ceramic sculptures by Lobo. The forms are symmetrical, three-dimensional scans of cave interiors cast in fired clay. The shapes are fenestrated by two openings, eye width apart that remain from the casting process. That their form mimics that of an oculus suggest how vision aspires to thought, to memory, or perhaps it’s the other way around. Through a series of unexpected inversions (the subterranean negative space made positive and placed above ground) Lobo presents these geological studies as something tangible and related to the physical presence of the viewer.
As such, both sculptures and images index the act of remembering (of parceling together the past that both was and was not) and the memory itself, frozen into either picture or thing. They amount to a contemporary archeology, connecting both to the raw earth of stone and foliage, of darkness and morning light, and to the contemporary measures, either chemical or technological, that aid our attempts to capture the primacy of experience.
About Jonas Mekas
Jonas Mekas was born in Semeniskiai, Lithuania, in 1922. He lives and works in New York. After being imprisoned by the Nazis in a forced-labor camp, Mekas studied philosophy at the University of Mainz, and immigrated to the United States in 1949. In 1964, he founded the Filmmakers Cinematheque, which grew into Anthology Film Archives, one of the world’s largest collections of avant-garde film. He has directed numerous works on film, and published more than 20 volumes of poetry, essays, interviews, and diaries.
He is a Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, and a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. In 2013, was awarded the medal of commandeur by the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France. He has shown at the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 (New York), the Hirshhorn Museum (Washington, D.C.), the Centre Pompidou and the Jeu de Paume (Paris), the Hermitage (St. Petersburg),and the Metropolitan Museum of Photography (Tokyo); his work has also been featured at the 51st Venice Biennale, Documenta 11, and Documenta 14.
About Nicolas Lobo
Nicolas Lobo was born in Los Angeles, and lives and works in Miami. He has exhibited widely, at institutions such as the Pérez Art Museum Miami; American University Museum, Washington, D.C; Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara, CA; The Fabric Workshop, Philadelphia, PA; and Red Bull Arts, NY.
About Nina Johnson
Nina Johnson is a contemporary art space in Miami, Florida. Opened as Gallery Diet in 2007, the gallery has produced exhibitions by emerging and established artists from around the world.