Bernice Steinbaum Gallery

Fabian Peña. From Mar 7th through Apr 5th, 2008Fabian Peña. Miami ArtistsWhere does the need to classify things come from? Libraries have books organized by subjects, authors, titles; chiropractors evaluate their patients' health status by determining the mechanical disorders of the spine and musculoskeletal system. Categorization is a tool for us to better understand the qualities of objects and individuals. But sometimes, one feels exhausted from being enclosed in such limited spaces.

Fabian Peña forces the viewer to revisit the so-called notion of hybrid, the fusion of fragments of the whole. Made of erasers in different colors, infection presents mildew proliferating into abstract shapes that may resemble honeycombs, buildings, blocks. Synthetic material has been fragmented and reintegrated according to its volume and form. Decomposers of organic matter, fungi have symbiotic relationships with a great number of living beings. Is this a possible recreation of macrobiotic cycling and exchange?

One and Three Insects parodies Joseph Kosuth's emblematic work, One and Three Chairs. Fly and cockroach wings are used to create a butterfly. By utilizing particles of two real dead bugs, the artist gives the illusion of a third insect that did not exist before. Illusionism serves as both support and parody of conceptualism. There is a clear sense of taxonomy here, in the way the artist chooses to represent the good, the bad, and the ugly (bugs).

In the work Prosthesis, the butterfly's wings are not exactly equal. Has the butterfly been subjected to an organ implant or transplant? One of the wings reproduces the size and shape of its twin, and yet the colors do not match. Paradoxically, the wing of the gorgeous butterfly has been repaired thanks to the unattractive roach. The cockroach becomes the donor, and its original appearance transforms into something acceptable to our eyes and mind.

The Impossibility of Storage for the Soul conveys the sense of stillness. A skull made of cockroach wings emerges from within a light box. What is the difference between cockroaches and human beings? One cannot survive without the other. But, cockroaches are a hundred times stronger than people. Cockroaches have even survived atomic bomb explosions. Not surprisingly, they are loyal neighbors of the dead. If cockroaches talked, they would tell us the story of the Earth and the apparition of mankind.

Frozen Flight is a flag made with delicate fly wings. The spectator perceives a notable theatricality accentuated with the power of light. This piece resembles Hiroshi Sugimoto's series of black and white photographs, which capture a moment in time for exhaustive observation. In spite of its three dimensional structure, this work possesses an intense photographic appearance. The fragility of time is portrayed. Isn't time another absurd category people have invented? Why don't we put the scary word "time" in the refrigerator and think more often of living our lives schedule-free? But alas, we aren't cockroaches, so it is difficult for us to get adapted to unfamiliar territories. In the end, human beings are less farsighted than vicious bugs. We are categorically condemned to become frozen mummies over time.
By Dinorah Perez Rementeria

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