STRANGERS ON COMMON LAND
In Strangers on Common Land Amalia Pica uses overlapping sheets of paper to create a temporary mural that extends the gallery into a hazy, almost dream-like space. Her intentionally pixelated resolution creates a soft image, and watercolor highlights a string of flags held by two figures, adding color to the muted landscape. What are we to make of this gesture? While bunting often marks festive or patriotic occasions, these figures stand passively, both separated and connected by the flags they hold. In order to maintain the supposedly celebratory gesture, they must stay apart rather than closing the distance between them.
Strangers on Common Land, 2012. A3 photocopied paper and watercolor. Collection of James Keith Brown and Eric Diefenbach, New York
“I feel that often as artists we have a desire to have a voice, for civic participation. And the complexity of political landscapes is for me the new sublime. It is hard not to feel voiceless or overwhelmed when thinking about how to make a better place of this world.” —Amalia Pica
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU AS AN ARTIST?
I think art is a way of resisting the lack of meaning in things and also celebrating the world and its absurdity. I am sort of drawn to art as an exercise in meaning making. I guess we all strive to live meaningfully and art is great practice.
DO YOU BELIEVE ART HAS SOCIALLY TRANSFORMATIVE POWER?
I think this is a lifetime question. I think art alone cannot achieve change, but one never encounters art in isolation.
So I believe that as part of a broader cultural reality art can transform things. There are great examples in history where an artwork took agency but I believe this is also tied to historical contingency. To me it is important to think this is always about to happen.
Born 1978, Neuquén, Argentina; Lives and works in London, UK
Amalia Pica is a conceptual artist who explores metaphor, communication, and civic participation through multimedia installations incorporating sculpture, installation, photograph, projection, and live performance. Pica’s work critiques language, the human desire to be understood, and confronts the failures, gaps, and imperfections in interpersonal communication.
Pica received her BA from Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Select solo exhibitions: Centre d’Art Contemporain in Rennes, France (2014); Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Neuquén, Argentina (2013); Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Illinois (2013); MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts (2013); Kunsthalle Sankt Gallen in Switzerland (2012); and University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, Michigan (2011). Select group exhibitions: Centre Pompidou in Paris, France (2015); The Jewish Museum (2015); Institute of Contemporary Art, Maine College of Art (2014); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2014); Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2012); and 54th Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy (2011). Select awards: Cisneros Fontanals Foundationʼs Grants & Commissions Program (2011); Art Rotterdam, Illy Prize (2007). Collections include: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.