March 18–May 27, 2023
Opening reception: Saturday, March 18, 5–7 PM
Gallery hours: Tuesday–Saturday: 11 AM–6 PM
EXCUSE YOU! is a collection of recent works that showcases the salient concerns of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s studio over the past twenty years. Likening the show to an assortment of breaches, stammers, or obstacles, the artist uses play as an apparatus to question some of the most pressing issues of the contemporary moment, such as surveillance, climate change, and the manner in which digital life can collide with lived experience.
With a nod to the absurd, a philosophy that challenges the stronghold of reason, Lozano-Hemmer encourages viewers to become participants in order to reflect upon, for example, how the fetishization of consumer culture contributes to water scarcity (Botella de Castigos) or how precious aspects of human lives are held safe or at hostage by the digital gatekeeper of the password (Password Breach). Exhibited works engage with machines to create active portraits of the human condition that depend on the human as the operational force, as in Remote Pulse an interactive installation of two identical pulse-sensing stations, which uses the internet to connect the heartbeats of individuals divided by geography.
Despite their apparent playfulness, the pieces maintain the artist’s long-standing sensitivity, which recognizes that they fit within an extended temporal spectrum of art history and mechanical tradition. Descending a Parametric Staircase pays homage to Duchamp’s famous painting Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912), which at its time was considered a scandalous interruption of the nude convention by splicing twenty different static positions. Nudes, Duchamp was reminded, reclined, not descended. Lozano-Hemmer hitches onto this spirit of provocation by challenging what material, genres, and bodies can or cannot do.
In Bilateral Time Slicer he uses a cutting-edge biometric instrument and vertical orientations to reflect upon ancient traditions of mask making, while Hormonium and Thermal Drift Density Map provide poetic translations for otherwise invisible or unremarkable signatures to render unconventional portraits. The neon EXCUSE YOU! is an indignant yet playful calling out using pop culture material, while two generative artworks, Recurrent Rayuela and Recurrent Llull respectively produce literary and philosophical loops based on the works of Julio Cortázar and Raymond Llull.
b. 1967, Mexico City
Lives and works in Montréal and Madrid
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is known for creating large-scale interactive installations in public spaces throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. Using robotics, custom software, projections, internet links, cell phones, sensors, LEDs, cameras, tracking systems, and often employing vanguard technologies, his “Antimonuments” challenge traditional notions of site-specificity, and instead focus on the idea of creating relationship-specific work through connective interfaces. His smaller-scale “Subsculptures” and his work in photography, video, and installation explore themes of surveillance, perception, and deception. Since his emergence in the 1990s, Lozano-Hemmer has mixed the disparate fields of digital media, robotics, medical science, performance art, and lived experience into interactive artworks.
His public artworks have been commissioned for the Philadelphia Association for Public Art (2012); La Triennale québécoise, Montreal, Canada (2011); Winter Olympics, Vancouver, Canada (2010); Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia (2010); the 50th Anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2009); the memorial for the Tlatelolco Student Massacre, Mexico City (2008); Madison Square Park, New York (2008); Trafalgar Square, London (2008); Québec City’s 400th Anniversary (2008); the Expansion of the European Union, Dublin, Ireland (2004); the opening of the YCAM Center, Yamaguchi, Japan (2003); and the Millennium Celebrations, Mexico City (1999).
Featured recently in solo exhibitions at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Center, Washington D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Fundación Telefónica, Buenos Aires; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Lozano-Hemmer was the first artist to represent Mexico at its national pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale. Collections holding his work include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami; Colección Jumex, Mexico City; Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; DAROS Latinamerica Collection, Zurich; Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul; 21st C Museum of Art, Kanazawa; Manchester Art Gallery, UK; MUSAC, Leon; MONA, Hobart; ZKM, Karlsruhe; the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and Singapore Art Museum, among others.
Past exhibitions of his work have also included The Barbican Centre, London; The Museum of Art, Hong Kong; and La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris; Kulczyk Foundation, Poznan; Art Basel Unlimited; and art biennials in Moscow, New Orleans, Shanghai, Sydney, Singapore, Liverpool, Istanbul, Seville, Seoul, Graz, and Havana. A recipient of the International Bauhaus Award in Dessau, his honors also include the Golden Nica from Ars Electronica, a Rockefeller Fellowship, a Daniel Langlois Foundation grant, two British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards in Interactive Art, and the Trophée des Lumières in Lyon.