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Issue 225

Andrea Galvani Uses Time as Raw Material

At Galería Curro, Guadalajara, the artist presents an immersive installation featuring neon sculptures and photographs visualizing the malleability of time

BY Rebecca Rose Cuomo in Exhibition Reviews , Reviews Across The World | 07 DEC 21

‘Time Is the Enemy’, Andrea Galvani’s solo show at Galería Curro in Guadalajara, shatters our preconceived notions about time, revealing its layers and complexities. Through an immersive, site-specific installation that features a new series of large-scale photographs and multimedia sculptures, the artist visualizes a powerful dimension beyond our intuitive understanding, offering new aptitudes for being in time.

To enter the exhibition is to step inside a transcendental temple of forces and matter. Painted entirely neutral grey, the ceiling and walls seem to extend beyond their architectural contours, softening the edges of the space and creating the perception of expansion. The gallery is illuminated by Instruments for Inquiring into the Wind and the Shaking Earth (2018–21), a constellation of 11 neon sculptures in the form of mathematical equations and scientific diagrams of theories and discoveries that have radically changed our perspective on reality. Radiating at 6,500 Kelvins – the same colour temperature as the stars – the installation generates an otherworldly luminance that tangibly occupies the room. Traversing a vast historical and geographical scope, the equations in Galvani’s incandescent landscape have given rise to the technologies and infrastructure – engineering, healthcare, politics – that enable contemporary society and serve as thresholds for the future. Suspended from the ceiling or mounted on the wall, these hyper objects hover like clouds, matter on the border of materiality. In this dynamic experiential environment, Galvani invites us to reflect upon the stupendous power of nature, as well as the incredible human efforts to understand its deepest mysteries.

Andrea Galvani Column on Varieties of Oblivion (Essay on the Modification of Clouds) 2021
Andrea Galvani, Column on Varieties of Oblivion (Essay on the Modification of Clouds), 2021, scientific books, steel and magnets, 3 × 0.2 × 0.3 m. Courtesy: © the artist and Galería Curro, Guadalajara; photograph: Noemí García

Balancing the celestial suspension of these neon sculptures, the exhibition is terrestrially grounded by Column on Varieties of Oblivion [Essay on the Modification of Clouds] (2021), a stack of books rising more than three meters tall. Its arresting presence heightens our awareness of our own bodies as it towers above human scale. The sculpture is a monolith of black-bound, white-paged books of varying thickness: a vertical stratification that brings to mind a rectangular ice core or colossal stalagmite, revealing slow secretions of solidified time. Each book contains scientific theories that have either been proved false or forgotten, absorbed and refined by later discoveries. Galvani merges language and lineage, juxtaposing Henry Cavendish’s 1798 Experiments to Determine the Density of the Earth with Hasan Ibn al-Haytham’s On the Configuration of the World, written in the early 11th century. The work honours the achievements of our predecessors as a stele-like monument to their intellectual labour, while simultaneously driving a wedge of doubt into our systems of certainty, reminding us that knowledge is an ever-shifting foundation.

Andrea Galvani Time Is the Enemy #3 2018-2021
Andrea Galvani, Time is the Enemy #3, 2018–2021, C-print mounted on aluminum dibond, 2 × 1.6 m. Courtesy: © the artist and Galería Curro, Guadalajara

Between suspension and the ground is the fall. ‘Time Is the Enemy’ (2018–21), Galvani’s eponymously titled photographic series, captures professional skydivers in free fall at sunset. To generate these images, the artist jumped alongside his subjects, documenting their migration through atmosphere and time. Captured in the moment when day becomes night, on the cusp of past and future, we are reminded of our own mortality. Falling is a transition through temporal layers moving at different speeds, slowed down by the gravitational pull of the Earth. Time in these photographs is protracted, dilated, bent under the weight of the fall.

Andrea Galvani’s exhibition ‘Time is the Enemy’ is on view at Galería Curro, Guadalajara, Mexico until 30 January 2022.

Main image: Andrea Galvani, ‘Time Is the Enemy’, 2021, exhibition view, Galería Curro, Guadalajara. Courtesy: © the artist and Galería Curro; photograph: Noemí García

Rebecca Rose Cuomo is an independent curator and writer based in Brooklyn, USA.