Chilean-born artist and designer Sebastian Errazuriz’s pieces equate playfulness and severity; the former makes his works accessible— he crafted a giant, dollar-filled piñata effigy of the Wall Street bull, entitled XXth Century Capital, to bash at the inauguration ceremony for NYC x Design 2014— and the latter gives it discursive volume. Shattered by the hands of the public, the same hands that would then snap up the dollar bills as they rained from the beast’s belly to the sidewalk would become symbols for the thrilling, destructive capacities of capitalism.
Paying respect to this balance by hosting Sebastian Errazuriz: Look Again, a retrospective featuring selections from the past decade of the artist's work, The Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) opens Errazuriz's first solo museum exhibition on September 6th. Blending new work with old, the exhibition even features Explosion, still fresh off its debut earlier this year, a kinetic cabinet made up of jointed maple spears which can be retracted and compacted into jagged shapes.
It’ll also include one of Errazuriz’s most popular projects, 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers, for which Errazuriz created 12 individual 3D-printed heels, named for the defining qualities of 12 of the artist’s past romances. See Honey and Crybaby below:
The CMOA’s exhibition description states, “Through found and repurposed objects, unexpected interventions, and meticulously crafted interactive furniture, Errazuriz surprises, provokes, and engages at every turn, asking viewers to rethink the everyday, to confront the transience of life, and to question the status quo.” This especially reigns true with more politically slanted pieces like 2011's American Kills.
Through online research, Errazuriz found that the number of suicides among US army soldiers was twice as high as the number of those killed in action during the Iraq War in 2009. To draw attention to this statistical reality, the artist painted each of these death tolls in columns on the side of a building in Brooklyn, drawing public attention, a stint of internet virality, and the eye of CNN.
Photos of American Kills will be on display at the CMOA’s retrospective. But while selected works like these give Look Again the ability to archive a comprehensive reflection on Errazuriz’s powers as an evocateur, they also help promote his role as an artist who has never succumbed to the constraints of working within a single medium. The result is a feeling of excitement for creativity at-large— the kind that makes you look, then contemplate, then look twice.
Sebastian Errazuriz: Look Again opens at Carnegie Museum of Art on September 6, and features an artist talk and workshop with Errazuriz. And for more of the artist's work, check out Sebastian Errazuriz Studio.
Follow Johnny Magdaleno on Twitter: @johnny_mgdlno