FRONT International 2022
Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH
Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows
Artistic Director: Prem Krishnamurthy
On the occasion of FRONT International 2022, Sonia Gomes will present two works from her Torções series, an ongoing project which the artist began in 2004. Exploring the layers of time and the sense of space, Gomes seeks to materialize an absence—or, as the artist suggests, a "fragile memory." With a focus on textiles, Gomes combines materials from different origins, creating new contexts for herself and her surroundings while still inhabiting a space intrinsic to her body. Her works exert a force on the circumscribed space, expanding and revealing it. In works such as Torções (Twisting), the artist contorts, almost choreographically, layers of fabric wrapped in a wire structure. Ultimately, these forces are contradictory: they grow and condense, tense and harmonize.
While primarily a painter, Yoshitomo Nara’s practice encompasses drawing; sculptures made of wood, FRP, ceramic, and bronze; installations that incorporate scrap materials; and photographs that document everyday landscapes and the encounters he has during his travels. Nara’s practice is entirely rooted in his mental and emotional stimulus, the feelings of curiosity sparked by what he sees and hears, and his interest in literature. He was strongly influenced by the music he listened to as a nine-year-old boy, and while many of those songs were in foreign languages, he used his imagination to overcome the language barrier—internalizing the vision of the world depicted on the record covers and understanding those works of art as if he were inhabiting them himself. While many of his contemporaries make their work with an audience in mind, Nara typically creates his works in a more personal mode; they originate from a struggle to express the self. The figures portrayed in Nara's works are born out of his deep introspection and a spiritual, ritualistic pursuit of the transcendental.
About FRONT International 2022
Amidst a time of ongoing tragedy and loss, FRONT International 2022 explores how artmaking offers the possibility to transform and heal us—as individuals, as groups, and as a society. Spanning over twenty sites in Cleveland, Akron, and Oberlin, the exhibition bears witness to the region’s past and present scars, from the environmental degradation caused by industrial production to police violence and urban fracture. Yet alongside interlocking public and personal crises, healing is contemporary Cleveland’s biggest industry; furthermore, organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (founded in Akron) or Art Therapy Studio (one of the nation’s first such independent institutions) represent influential models for collective care. Learning from these and other local precedents, Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows emphasizes collaborative creative processes, working closely with institutions across the region, and connecting artists with local communities. Emerging over multiple timeframes, FRONT International 2022 approaches the slow process of curating as a way to leave lasting traces upon civic and cultural infrastructures, while also embracing the ephemeral glimpses of beauty that art—like a rainbow—can still offer.