Lucero Gonzalez Jameson: Angelus Novus
October 2, 2014 - October 26, 2014
Curated by Raúl Zamudio / Reception October 16th: 6-8pm
La MaMa Galleria
47 Great Jones St.
New York, NY
Lucero Gonzalez Jameson: Angelus Novus is a solo exhibition of painting, sculpture and video by the New York-based artist Lucero Gonzlaez Jameson. The exhibition’s subtitle is culled from a similarly titled Paul Klee print that was in the collection of Walter Benjamin. Benjamin, a renown literary and cultural critic and writer associated with the Frankfurt School, used Klee’s work as metaphor about a two-faced “angel of history” looking backward to the past while the present piled up before it as “wreckage.” A conceptual motif in Benjamin’s “angel of history” is how the past is ever shaping the present as much as the historian, either consciously or not, shapes the past through their narration filtered through their subjectivity.
Lucero Gonzalez Jameson: Angelus Novus uses Benjamin’s concept of history as trope to explore dichotomies of past/present, history/myth, and the spiritual/corporeal. A series of artworks that introduce the exhibition, for example, are The Execution of Miramón No.2 (nd) and a corpus of self-portraits. Gonzalez Jameson’s painting is based on Edouard Manet’s iconic Execution of Emperor Maximilian (1868). In one of Manet’s most politically poignant canvases, the emperor is executed by fusillade along with Miguel Miramón who happens to be the artist’s great, great grandfather. Gonzalez Jameson’s rendition is more than homage to her colored familial past or art historical citation, for it is the artistic equivalent of what Benjamin stated as the task of the historian: “to brush history against the grain.” In counterpoint to this are Gonzalez Jameson’s nine self-portraits that are sequentially installed in the exhibition. One of these, however, is painted upside down and is flanked on each side by four upright self-portraits. In one sense, The Execution of Miramón No. 2 is rife with its progeny including the artist, albeit generations removed, while the auto-depictions are also permeated with the past. This doubling effect is akin to Benjamin’s “angel” that looks backward while the present perpetually accumulates before it. Accompanying the exhibition will be a publication with reproduced artworks, bio of the artist, and an essay by the curator.