We had a chance to check out Danish artist Nina Beier’s show Valuables at Proyectos Monclova in Mexico City before its closing this week. Playing with the concept of value with various objects, the show had an unusual set up, with tiles displayed on the wall and artwork on the floor. Walking through towels printed as money and wigs pressed on rugs, was a refreshing gallery experience. The back room where Liquid Assets was shown against a black background had three glass display cases featuring metal pieces which were part of a Mexican Zapata statue.
(Descriptions taken from Proyectos Monclova‘s website)
Ceramic tiles, distinguished as the slowest moving form of interior design, carry prints of digital renderings of material textures. Tileables the title, come from the technical word of seamless pattern that characterized a repeatable image. Borrowed from 3D architectural programs, they are used to build provisional imagery of heavy constructions. Some are indiscernible from mass-produced imitations of stone whereas others, featuring out of scale depictions of stucco and skin, lay bare the contrasting makeup of this material.
Tileables, 2014 Seamless skin texture printed on ceramic tile
In Minutes, Beier arranges wigs on Wagireh rugs. Originally used to pass on different family styles through generations or as samples for traveling salesmen, these small rugs are compressed summaries of all the patterns of an actual rug. The wigs, pressed against the rugs, are real hair wigs; frozen haircuts from different times, made of hair that will never grow any further. The hair stems from China and India, and has been bleached, permed and dyed in order to imitate a variety of hair types. This display of patiently grown hair and meticulously hand-weaved rugs finds its counterpart in the series Greens.
Minutes, 2014, Wagireh rug, real hair wig, glass, foam MDF
In the series Greens, we have pressed palm-tree-like houseplants placed on beach towels depicting bank notes of various currencies. In fact one could say they are currencies or traveling objects speaking of a global economy. While Minutes speaks of working hours and human time, the other takes on waste of time, waste of money and non-productive activity.
These pressed plants are representations made of the very material they depict. They are at once themselves and their own indexical images. In these new works Nina Beier, takes the image-like status of these objects literally.
Greens , 2014, Printed towel, pressed palm, glass, foam, MDF
Liquid Assets is a life size bronze statue of leading figure of the Mexican revolution Zapata separated into individual pieces. Only objects representing metal are left on display and here time and representation become blurred, as the original and its depiction are almost the same. Liquid Assets points to the changing interpretation and meaning of materiality and status of bronze. As a sculpture this bronze was made to outlive and commemorate its subject. In today’s world, however, bronze progressively operates as a currency – often sold, melted down and reformed to create another life and purpose.
Liquid Assets, 2014, Parts of bronze statue of Mexican Zapata