Art Exhibition: “Taking Up Space”

[Many thanks to Peter Jorden for bringing this item to our attention.] “Taking Up Space” presents a selection of contemporary Latin American art in conjunction with the U.S. State Department’s inaugural Cities Summit of the Americas. The exhibition opened on April 25 and will be on view through April 29. It features work by Marisa Caichiolo (Argentina), Carlos Martiel (Cuba), Suchitra Mattai (Guyana), Marielle Plaisir (French Caribbean), Angel Ricardo Ricardo Rios (Cuba), Romelle (U.S.), Francisco Souto (Venezuela), Mario Zoots (U.S.), and more.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Visit 3 Nearby Art Events in Tandem with “Taking Up Space” and the Cities Summit of the Americas

“Taking Up Space” shares an opening date and time (April 25, 4-7pm) with “Pipelines”, an outdoor art installation presented by the Biennial of the Americas with artistic direction by Black Cube Nomadic Art Museum. “Taking Up Space” and “Pipelines” are approximately a 5-minute walk from one another, so guests are encouraged to partake in festivities at both locations. 

Guests and media are also invited to visit “Out of Many, More: Voices of the Americas” at The Experience Gallery within the Denver Performing Arts Complex, approximately a 10-minute walk from K Contemporary. “Out of Many, More: Voices of the Americas”  is co-presented by the University of Colorado, Denver and the Biennial of the Americas and is open from April 25 to May 4.  

Taking Up Space, conceived to coincide with the U.S. State Department’s inaugural Cities Summit of the Americas, features the work of eight K Contemporary artists addressing topics of Latin and Caribbean culture such as colonialism, diaspora, inequity, and the reclamation of public space. 

Works in 2- and 3-D seduce the viewer with bold aesthetics and mixed media that manage to encapsulate both celebration and suffering.  Whether nuanced or overt, allusions to sublimation, conquest, and cultural appropriation are countered with beauty, strength, and pride. Taken together, the work reveals both joy and struggle as even the smallest of the works, Francisco Souto’s exquisite three colored-pencil drawings of piles of laundry, “take up space” by anthropomorphically and pictorially amplifying the voice of millions of Venezuelan refugees leaving their country and belongings behind.

Further riffing on the exhibition’s title, “Taking Up Space”, K Contemporary’s expansive main gallery will be engulfed by Ikebana (2019) a monumental inflatable sculpture by Cuban-born, Mexico City-based artist, Angel Ricardo Ricardo Rios. Typically sited in airy, outdoor public settings to generate curiosity, pleasure, and conversation among passers-by, Ikebana is literally “taking up space.” It is both exuberant and constricted (and perhaps constricting). In its new setting, this abstract, organic form swallows K Contemporary’s exhibition space, humbling viewers seeking to approach and circumnavigate it. Its hubris is simultaneously awe-inspiring, fanciful, and at times disconcerting. Is it friend or foe; menacing or playful? Is it conquering the gallery or simply inflated with uncontainable joy?

Other artists in the exhibition include Marisa Caichiolo (Argentinian), Carlos Martiel (Cuban), Suchitra Mattai (Indo-Caribbean, born in British Guyana), Marielle Plaisir (Caribbean South American/French descent), Francisco Souto (Venezuelan), Mario Zoots (American of Mexican descent), and Romelle (American living in Mexico City).

For more information, see—a-selection-of-contemporary-latin-american-art-in-conjunc

[Shown above: “Encomienda” (2020) by Carlos Martiel. Isaac Vargas writes,Martiel’s ‘Encomienda’ (2020) is on the opposite wall, displaying Martiel’s nude backside while he kneels on a map of South America, facing the wall of North America’s map. The queer and Afro-Latinx Cuban performance and installation artist is known for pushing the limits of performance art to bring into light the horrors of immigration, racism and the abuse of power.” For full review, see—a-selection-of-contemporary-latin-american-art-in-conjunc.]

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