MILWAUKEE-An efficient entanglement of sculptures, ambient sounds, and everyday absurdities: welcome to the intervention of Milwaukee-based artist Santiago Cucullu. On view April 24, 2008-January 4, 2009 in the Milwaukee Art Museums Calatrava-designed Schroeder Galleria, On Site: Santiago Cucullu is a head-on collision between an artists imagination and the built environment of his neighborhood.
Cucullus installation fills the galleria a light-filled, marble-floored arched pathway approximately 300 feet long and 30 feet wide, visible from the citys busy Lincoln Memorial Drive with monumental vinyl wall drawings. Created by a collage process of manipulated photo sampling and montage, they sprawl over the Museums white walls and arches. Raw urban subject matter such as brick buildings, streetlights, shipping palettes, security cameras, and graffiti establish a backdrop for the artists ever-shifting, home-grown narrative.
The wall pieces are interspersed with twenty televisions installed on various elementary stands. Facing into the space as well as out onto the street, they broadcast images and sounds from 10 separate DVD loops that are free of any strict beginnings or endings. Further setting the stage for a world in flux, yet never changing, scenes include two lovers kissing, unaware of the camera; a train station at night, shot vertically and scrolling down the screen continuously; and a woman gardening, her movements repeated in an endless gesture. To complete his installation, the artist intuitively positions sculptural objects described as neo-concretist-based structures within the galleria.
An artist inspired by the readymade tradition of progenitors like Marcel Duchamp and Lygia Clark, Cucullu delivers a curious artistic culmination by thoughtfully utilizing materials that are readily accessible to him. As a result, his exhibition draws the unregulated space of the city back inside Calatravas exclusive lakefront design, thereby juxtaposing a Milwaukee ideal of the new with material sourced in obsolescence. While examining the cityscape, On Site: Santiago Cucullu also holds a mirror up to the artists own subjectivity. Cucullu observes, I live here in Milwaukee largely because of circumstance, and it is circumstance that drives some of my projects. While other places in the world may seem more exotic, Milwaukee seems as strange and alluring as anywhere.
Santiago Cucullu was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and received his MFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1999 and BFA from the Hartford Art School in Connecticut in 1992. Cucullu has been awarded residencies at the Glassel Core Program in Houston, Texas, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine; his solo projects include exhibitions at Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; and INOVA, Milwaukee. Cucullu has exhibited widely in group shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla; Camden Arts Centre, London; REDCAT, Los Angeles; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.