By Elizabeth Shannon, Bass Museum of Art
With Art Basel Miami Beach looming large, we’ve been very busy at the Bass Museum of Art of late, with the installation of Piotr Uklański’s exhibition ESL and Art Public in Collins Park. This all follows on from the opening of TIME, featuring projects by Hernan Bas, Manny Prieres and works by Eadweard Muybridge, Lorraine O’Grady and Torsten Lauschmann amongst others, which opened at the beginning of November. But although TIME has been open to the public for almost a month, the exhibition is not yet complete.
During Art Basel week, the Bass Museum will host an additional ‘exhibition’ of works, presented as part of TIME in the Sol M. Taplin gallery. In honor of the Bass Museum’s 50th Anniversary in 2014, internationally-celebrated Romanian contemporary artists Alexandra Pirici and Manuel Pelmuş have been invited to engage with the museum’s collection and devise a work in response. Pirici and Pelmuş have had an exceptionally successful 2013 with the presentation of An Immaterial Retrospective of the Venice Biennale in the Romanian Pavilion at this year’s Italian art festival. You can find out more about this body of work here: https://www.facebook.com/AnImmaterialRetrospectiveOfTheVeniceBiennale
At the Bass Museum of Art, Pirici and Pelmuş have focused on works from the John and Johanna Bass collection, which was gifted to the City of Miami Beach and became the founding collection for the museum. After examining the objects and considering the character of the collection, the artists decided to primarily focus upon the collection’s holdings of reproductions after old master paintings, alongside a selection of decorative objects. After winnowing down a list of pieces, Pirici and Pelmuş worked with four performers – Sha Harrell, Grace Jones, Sandra Portal-Andreu and Galen Treuer – to devise movements, actions and poses that enable them to conceptually ‘enact’ the chosen objects. Through this approach, the pieces selected from the collection by Pirici and Pelmuş are transformed into ‘immaterial objects’. Each individual enacted object is both an original and a copy; we are presented with an enactment of the thing itself, as it exists in the collection, yet this enactment also transforms it into something new and different. The approach utilized by Pirici and Pelmuş enables their work to conceptually extend beyond the physical object into the realm of projection and memory.
If I’ve made this all sound a little dry and abstract, it should be noted that the respected art critic Adrian Searle described Pirici and Pelmuş’s work at the Venice Biennale as “marvelous, funny and affecting”. Their work at the Bass is similarly smart, humorous and imaginative, as seen in their enactment of a work from the Bass collection, ‘Music Box (Automated Singing Bird), Early 20th Century, enamel on silver’, in the video below.
Visitors are welcome to view Pirici and Pelmuş’s exhibition in the Sol. M. Taplin gallery at the Bass Museum of Art, at any time between 12pm and 5pm from December 5 to 8, 2013.